The challenge this week is to optimize your fruit nutrition per day but not to go overboard with it if you want to lose weight. If you eat produce only rarely my easy 3-step habit change will help you “lean jumpstart” and automate the consumption of these nutrient-dense foods.
They give you an instant health boost!
Fruits are handy since they can be eaten even on the move and they will boost you instantly. They can quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger at the same time. Nobody is denying their health benefits.
Fruits and vegetables, both contain hoards of phytonutrients that are important for the health and maintenance of your body. These powerful substances reduce the risk of chronic disease and cannot be packaged as a pill or bottled. Potassium, for example, supports cardiovascular health, blood pressure, muscle power, and bone strength. Good sources of potassium are bananas, apricots, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew and some dried fruits, such as prunes, and dates.
Why they are beneficial for weight loss
As many varieties of fruits have a low glycemic load, their carbohydrates do not have a huge impact on your blood sugar levels. If chosen wisely, those sweet delights supply a significant amount of fiber to your diet, which will slow digestion and make you feel fuller. Studies suggest that a diet rich in fiber can also decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer.
The United States Dietary Guidelines suggest two servings of fruit each day for a person on a 2,000-calorie diet. This is something you can achieve quite easily. You may eat up to four portions a day if you are at a healthy weight. If you want to drop pounds, however – you should watch the amount you are eating.
Why vitamin bombs might hinder weight loss
Fruits are naturally high in sugar in contrast to vegetables – albeit in a natural form (fructose) and in very different concentrations. Consuming one pound of fresh fruits can happen very quickly as it tastes delicious and is easy to eat.
Of course, this is not a really big problem – it is better to nibble too many strawberries than Cheetos or M&Ms. And yet – do the math: Fruit is about 80-100 calories per serving, packed with fructose.
Additionally, only very few of them have a high satiety effect like apples or berries for example. Veggies vary in their calorie counts, but 35 calories per serving is a general guideline. Also, vegetables in general, produce greater feelings of satiety. Even a small serving can go a long way when it comes to you feeling full.
Opt for high fiber foods
That’s why weight loss programs seldom endorse grapes or pineapples. Those snacks are very sweet and rich in fructose but often low in dietary fiber. If you are eating five portions of them and do not eat your veggies, then you can, in fact, gain weight – especially if you prefer eating it in the evening. At the end of the day you don't need these calories, thus they move into your fat cells.
Try to focus especially on fiber-rich foods like passion fruits, raspberries, blackberries, pears, kiwis or apples. Click through for my top 10 best high fiber fruits for weight loss.
Bottom line: It’s important to understand that these vitamin-bombs are not ‘free' foods. Treating them that way could quickly sabotage your weight loss efforts. 2 portions a day – for example, raspberries for breakfast in your muesli, a second one as healthy snack or as dessert after lunch is more than enough for a healthy weight management. If you are at a healthy weight you could increase the amount but make sure to choose products with lots of fiber.
Baby Action Steps to optimize your nutrition
Here comes a simple 3-step habit change that helps you automating healthy habits. If you do not eat fruits daily, you want to try to eat at least 1 serving per day.
Start again with a tiny behavior you want to automate: Have always one serving of fiber-rich vitamin bombs like apple, berries, etc. as a snack. For a lean jumpstart, I recommend an organically grown apple! One medium apple satisfies your immediate sugar craving and ensures that you are not starving by the time you sit down for lunch or dinner.
- Use post-workout, pre-lunch or pre-dinner time as the trigger. It depends on your specific situation.
- Develop the routine of eating one apple as post-workout, pre-lunch or pre-dinner snack.
- The reward could be the satisfaction that you replaced an unhealthy snack with fiber-rich foods. If that doesn’t work as a reward maybe again self-talk does. You could just say to yourself “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”;)
Tell me how the challenge is working for you
How is this week's challenge going? Tell me what kind of produce you are eating below in the comments. Tell me also how you are rewarding yourself.
Take your consumption of vitamins and minerals to the next level with the advanced 2-week action plan: Best fruits to eat!