Fruits and Vegetables
While on The Biggest Loser Diet, you should eat a minimum of 4 servings daily. At least half of your servings should be from vegetables; the other half from fruits. Don’t have more fruit servings than vegetable servings.
Fruit Serving Size: 1 cup, 1 medium piece, or 8 ounces
Choose These to Lose: Apple, apricot, banana, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, guava, kiwifruit, mango, melon (all varieties), nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear, persimmons, pineapple, plantain, plum, pomegranate, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangerine, and watermelon
Vegetable Serving Size: 1 cup or 8 ounces
Choose These to Lose: Artichoke, asparagus, bamboo shoots, beans (green, yellow), beet greens, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, palm hearts, parsley, peas, peppers (all varieties), pumpkin, radishes, shallots, spinach, sprouts, summer squash, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnip greens, turnips, water chestnuts, watercress, winter squash, yams, and zucchini
Here’s the good news: You can eat more than four servings a day of most fruits and vegetables if you wish. At the base of our Biggest Loser Diet pyramid, fruits and vegetables supply the most nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, “phytochemicals” (protective plant chemicals), and fiber, relative to the low number of calories they contain. In other words, you get the most nutrient bang for your caloric buck from fruits and vegetables.
The exception to this would be the starchier vegetables such as pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. These veggies are higher in calories and carbs, so you want to eat just a few servings a week for optimum weight loss results.
* Fresh fruits and vegetables are always best, but when you can’t get them that way, feel free to choose frozen or canned, as long as they are not packed with sugar or in syrup. Cooking and canning destroy some nutrients; however, the best food companies can their foods right after they’re harvested, when they’re the most fresh anyway.
* Eat a vegetable salad most days of the week.
* Cook your vegetables for the shortest amount of time possible in order to preserve nutrients.
* Keep a container of cut-up vegetables like broccoli and red or green peppers in your refrigerator for easy snacking.
* One vegetable to avoid during your weight loss is white potatoes. Though nutritious, white potatoes send your blood sugar soaring. When it drops, you’ll get hungry and be tempted to overeat at your next meal.
* Try a new fruit or vegetable every week to build some variety into your diet.
* Through the week, choose fruits and vegetables from the six key color groups: red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, and purple. This is a great way to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients in your Biggest Loser Diet.
* Try to eat at least one fruit and one vegetable raw each day.
* Avoid dried fruits, including raisins, craisins, dried cherries, and dried blueberries. Dried fruits are often treated with additives, and they are overly concentrated in calories and fruit sugar, which can play havoc with your blood sugar. Further, they’re not as filling as raw fruits, so they do little to help curb hunger. Consider this: Two tablespoons of raisins have as many calories as a whole cupful of grapes. Wouldn’t you much rather eat a whole cup of grapes than a little bit of raisins?
* Choose whole fruits over fruit juices. Fruit juice contains no fiber and therefore does little to help you control your appetite or make you feel full. What’s more, fruit juice is a concentrated source of fruit sugar and is thus liable to send your blood sugar soaring, followed by a decline. These ups and downs can lead to food cravings.
The Biggest Loser Diet Food Pyramid recommends three daily servings of protein foods each day (8-ounce or 1-cup portions), regardless of your daily caloric limit or target. For flexibility, you can choose from three different types of protein: animal protein, vegetarian protein, and low-fat dairy protein. You can divide your protein up into any size portion you want through the day. For example, you can have half a portion at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and for snacks, as long as you fulfill your protein allotment for the day. Protein is best eaten in smaller quantities anyway, so your body can use it throughout the day. So make sure you have some protein at each meal.
Here is a closer look at your many protein choices
Animal Protein Serving Size: 1 cup or 8 ounces
Choose These to Lose: Any type of beef, pork, or veal labeled as 95 percent lean; white meat chicken; white meat turkey; egg whites; fish (any type); and shellfish (any type). Try to choose fish that is rich in heart-protective fats called omega-3 fatty acids. These fish include salmon, sardines (water-packed), herring, mackerel, trout, and tuna.
Vegetarian Protein Serving Size: 1 cup or 8 ounces
Choose These to Lose: Beans and legumes (black beans, broad beans, chickpeas, edamame, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, split peas, white beans, and so forth); miso; soybeans, soy bacon, soy or veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, and other natural (meaning not the powders or pills) soy products; tempeh; and tofu
Low-Fat Dairy Serving Size: 1 cup or 8 ounces
Choose These to Lose: Buttermilk, low-fat milk (1 percent), skim or fat-free milk, soy milk, yogurt (plain), yogurt (no sugar added, fruit flavored), and reduced-fat cottage cheese
You should have 2 servings of whole grains daily.
Bread Serving Size: 2 slices of bread, preferably “light,” 1 whole-grain bun or roll, 2 light Wasa flatbreads, 1 whole-wheat flour tortilla
Choose These to Lose: Whole grain bread, high-fiber bread (choose brands with around 45 calories per slice); Ezekiel bread; Wasa bread; whole wheat buns, whole wheat pitas, whole wheat tortillas, and whole wheat dinner rolls
Whole Grain Serving Size: 1 cup cooked
Choose These to Lose: Barley, brown rice, bulgur, corn grits, couscous, cream of rice, cream of wheat, millet, oat bran, quinoa, rolled oats, whole wheat cereal, whole wheat pasta, and wild rice
For maximum nutrition, always lean toward the most nutritious grains those that have undergone the least processing, such as those listed above. Brown rice, for example, is higher in vitamins and fiber than white rice. That’s because white rice has been stripped of its husk, germ, and bran layers during processing. Similarly, rolled oats are more nutritious than instant oats. When grains are put through the process of refinement, the important nutrients are taken out. All that’s usually left is the starchy interior, which is loaded with carbohydrates and not much else.
Here are some other Biggest Loser Diet pointers:
* To purchase the most nutritious bread products, read labels. Make sure the first ingredient listed is “whole” wheat or “whole grain.” If “wheat flour” is the first ingredient, this doesn’t mean whole wheat. It usually means enriched flour with some whole wheat added.
* Choose breads with 2 or more grams of fiber per serving.
* Again, watch out for the term “enriched” on the label when buying bread or pasta. It’s usually a sign that a food is made with processed white flour, meaning that it’s low in fiber. Usually, the nutrients have been stripped and then replaced synthetically.
* Avoid most packaged ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. These tend to be highly processed and loaded with added sugar. Some exceptions are low-carb cereals (a favorite among cast members) and high-fiber cereals such as Kashi Go Lean, Fiber One, and All-Bran. Packaged cereals containing 5 grams of fiber or more per serving are generally considered to be high-fiber cereals.