13 Foods I Always Buy to Maintain 4-Year Fat Loss and Fuel Fitness

  • Four years ago I cut my body fat percentage in half and have maintained my fat loss ever since.
  • My diet varies but there are staples that I always buy, like sourdough bread and broccoli.
  • I include all food groups, eat protein-rich meals and adjust portion sizes depending on my goal.

Four years ago, I nearly cut my body fat percentage in half and lost 35 pounds, and I’ve stayed around the same body composition ever since.

Weight training, walking, and eating a high protein diet have helped me maintain my fat loss and build more muscle over the years, and certain foods have become staples in my grocery cart.

I know there is no naturally fattening food, so if and when my weight fluctuates up a bit and I want to drop a few pounds of fat, I simply change my portion sizes instead of cutting out any food groups.

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I always keep my protein intake high though, as it helps your muscles recover from workouts, is satiating so keeps you full and helps you hold on to muscle while losing fat in a caloric deficit.

My diet is not “perfect” – I follow the 80/20 principle of trying to make nutritious food choices 80% of the time and eat whatever I want the rest of the time, including doughnuts, pizza and cookies.

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I have tons of basic protein recipes and meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks that I make and eat all the time.

Whether I’m trying to build muscle, maintain my weight, or lose fat, these are 13 foods I always have in my kitchen.

1. Greek yogurt

Yogurt bowl

Greek yogurt with banana, granola and peanut butter.

Rachel Hosie

I eat so much fat-free Greek yogurt (or other naturally protein-rich dairy products like Icelandic skyr or British yogurt) that it’s become something of a joke in my family.

I love the thick, creamy texture, the tangy taste and its versatility – I not only use it in smoothies, overnight oats and eat it with honey, fruit and granola, I sometimes swap it for sour cream in savory dishes. It is packed with protein and allows you to eat a large volume of food while keeping the calories down.

“Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and once you choose a variety with no added sugar, it’s low in sugar and will keep you full and satisfied,” performance nutritionist Daniel Davey tells Insider. “Great for adding fruit as a balanced snack.”

2. Oats

I eat oats in some form most mornings, whether it’s protein oatmeal, overnight oats, or baked oats. I also sometimes use them in pancakes and baked goods like flapjacks or banana bread.

“Oats contain soluble and insoluble fiber that is essential for a healthy digestive system,” Davey said. “Oats are a slow-digesting carbohydrate food that will keep you full longer.”

3. Bananas

I love bananas, whether they’re sliced ​​on top of peanut butter on a bagel or toast, mashed into oats, baked in the oven with chocolate filling, or frozen and then blended into creamy smoothies.

“Bananas are a great source of energy for pre- or post-workout, perfect for smoothies and adding to toast for a recovery snack,” said Davey. “They also contain potassium which is an important mineral for nerve function, which regulates blood pressure and heart rate.”

4. Chicken breast

Coconut chicken curry and cauliflower rice.

Coconut chicken curry.

Rachel Hosie/Insider

Some people think chicken is boring, but when it’s cooked right, I think it’s delicious. I use chicken in fajitas, curries, sandwiches, casseroles and more.

“Chicken breast is high in protein, which helps the body with growth and repair, so especially beneficial in meals after intense exercise,” Davey said.

5. Ground turkey

Turkey is a leaner alternative to beef and tasty in its own right. I like to cook mine with Mexican spices or make a chili and serve it with rice and vegetables.

“Ground turkey is low in carbs and high in protein, perfect for hitting protein goals or mixing up your protein sources,” Davey said.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables and I add it to most meals (I accept this is weird). It’s also relatively high in protein for a green vegetable, providing four grams per 100 gram serving.

“Broccoli contains vitamin C which is good for the immune system,” Davey said. “It helps the body make specialized immune cells to fight infection.”

7. Eggs

Avocado on toast, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon.

Avocado on toast, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon.

Rachel Hosie

I love scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas and often add cheese and veggies for more flavor and nutrients. Cheesy scrambled eggs with sourdough toast topped with avocado is one of my staple lunches.

“Eggs are a source of protein and also vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth,” Davey said.

8. Sourdough bread

Whether it’s under avocado and eggs, toasted and topped with peanut butter and banana, or holding together a chicken sandwich, I love the taste of sourdough and the fact that it’s good for my stomach too.

“Sourdough bread is a great source of energy and can also support a healthy gut due to the presence of lactic acid, which is used in the bread-making process,” Davey said.

9. Cheddar cheese

Cheddar cheese is delicious on top of a Mexican-spiced chicken and vegetable dish, in scrambled eggs or an omelet, melted on top of a baked potato with baked beans, or mixed into pasta. If I’m trying to eat in a calorie deficit, I watch my portion sizes or buy a reduced-fat version.

“Cheddar cheese is a good source of protein and rich source of calcium, an important mineral for bone health and muscle contraction,” Davey said.

10. Frozen berries

Oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter.

Frozen berries thawed on oats.


Frozen berries are much cheaper than fresh, just as nutritious and you don’t have to worry about them going bad. I whip them into smoothies or let them thaw in my oatmeal overnight.

“Frozen berries are a great source of antioxidants and fiber. Ideal on top of overnight oats or in a smoothie,” Davey said.

11. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is calorie dense, but it’s also filling. I often add it to my oatmeal or overnight oats, and it keeps me fuller than when I don’t. I keep an eye on my portion size when trying to stick to a calorie deficit, but I absolutely love peanut butter and eat it with everything from bagels to curries.

“Peanut butter contains polyunsaturated fat, which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins,” Davey said. “It works great on toast or added to porridge in the morning.”

12. Avocado

Avocados are also high in calories but packed with nutrients – and delicious. I eat them with eggs and toast, in a chicken sandwich, in salads and in fajitas.

“Avocado is a great source of healthy fats that are essential for optimal health,” Davey said. “Avocado is also a good source of magnesium.”

13. Brown rice

Mexican Ground Turkey Bowl

Mexican ground turkey with brown rice.

Rachel Hosie

I usually buy brown rice over white as it releases energy more slowly and contains more fibre, plus I like the taste. I eat rice with curries, chili, salads and more.

“Brown rice is a good source of slow-digesting carbohydrates and is a good source of fiber, which digests slowly in the body for sustained energy levels,” Davey said.


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