Weight loss meals can get boring. If you’ve ever eaten chicken and broccoli for the third day in a row, you know what we’re talking about.
What if it didn’t have to be so blasé? Just because you’re working on your waistline doesn’t mean you have to be bored with a bland diet.
You can eat a variety of foods and enjoy them while continuing to lose weight. Instead of eating the same thing all the time, focus on three key elements of a weight loss meal, and you’ll find endless ways to achieve your goals.
The three main components of a healthy weight loss meal are protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Our Moroccan salmon and quinoa pilaf fits the bill and is a perfect example of a quick, balanced meal you can whip up in minutes.
It is powered by protein.
In addition to its heart-healthy omega-3 content, salmon is packed with protein. If your goal is to lose weight, eating enough protein is critical to your success. Protein helps you stay full while still being in a slight calorie deficit.
Protein takes a long time to digest and has the highest satiety factor of the three macronutrients. Compared to fats and carbs, protein actually increases feelings of fullness and helps you slow down naturally.
Aim for at least a palm-sized serving of protein or a hand-sized serving of fish at each meal. Try to include lean protein options most of the time and focus on seafood twice a week to supplement a healthy, protein-focused diet.
It is fiber-based.
Next, you’ll want to focus on getting fiber in your meals. Fiber helps slow digestion and keeps you full with fewer calories. Similar to protein, foods high in fiber linger in your stomach longer and contribute to a greater feeling of fullness.
Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. The quinoa in this dish provides a significant amount of fiber from the grain with a total of three grams per serving.
Other ways to add more fiber to this meal include roasted vegetables alongside salmon. Broccoli, onions, bok choy and cabbage would go well with this meal and provide a huge boost of fiber on the side.
Quinoa not only provides fiber, but also contributes to this dish as a complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates are fiber-rich carbohydrates that have not been refined or processed.
Carbs like brown rice, whole wheat bread, potatoes, fruits, beans, and lentils are all wonderful fiber-rich complex carbs.
Any of these options could be substituted here instead of quinoa for endless meal varieties!
Do you want more ? We’ve got you covered with these 35+ baking sheet recipes that are beyond easy to make.
Caroline is a Women’s Health Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more