Eating the right food combinations—high protein, lower sugar and healthy fats—will help ensure your body can build muscle, recover faster and keep your metabolism accelerated. Try these five food combinations for the ultimate metabolic kick-start!
Meal #1 – Eggs, Salsa and Avocado
Kick-start your metabolism with a high protein, satiating breakfast including eggs! It has been shown that those eating a high protein breakfast of eggs lead to a reduction in subsequent eating throughout the day.
Top those eggs with a tablespoon of hot salsa, which provides you with the active thermogenic ingredient capsaicin from hot pepper. This pepper can ignite the fat burning hormone norepinephrine, helping to stimulate fat oxidation while further reducing appetite. Avocado, on the other hand, provides a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, which can help preserve muscle while stimulating the body to use fat as fuel.
Meal #2 – Chicken, Grapefruit Wedges, Spinach and Kale
You probably already know that chicken is a great source of lean protein, low in fat and high in all the essential amino acids you need to build lean muscle, but did you also know that protein is highly thermogenic? It takes your body a lot more energy to burn off protein than it does carbs, so taking in ample amount of protein throughout the day will help ensure your body remains metabolic.
Serve your chicken up on a spinach and kale salad, which provide a rich source of fiber and antioxidants. Spinach also provides a source of thylakoids, which have been shown to help boost weight loss and curb food cravings. One study showed that individuals consuming 5g of the thylakoid extract of spinach lost 43% more weight and had 95% curbed food cravings compared to those using the placebo. Lastly, adding a few slices of grapefruit provides citric acid, or vitamin C, which has been shown to help release all the good stuff you want from leafy greens like spinach and kale!
Meal #3 – Whey, Coconut and Almond Butter
Nourish muscles and keep appetite in check with a healthy, high protein smoothie. Whey protein has been shown repeatedly to reduce appetite while also improving body composition. In one study, two groups of subjects eating a reduced calorie diet both lost weight, but it was the group that was eating the whey protein that lost significantly more body fat and held on to more metabolic lean muscle! Combine 1 scoop of whey protein with a tablespoon of raw coconut and natural almond butter. These two sources of healthy fats will help slow down digestion of the protein, keeping you feeling fuller for longer before your next meal.
Meal #4 – Beef Tenderloin, Broccoli and Sweet Potato
Beef might not seem like a good option when it comes to fat burning, but this meat is very metabolic and actually provides many benefits—other than just being a great source of protein! Beef provides a source of muscle-building creatine, iron, energizing b-vitamins and the mineral zinc, which is involved in many hormone-producing pathways. It also provides a source of saturated fat, which is important in helping balance hormone levels. Eating your beef with dark green veggies and a fiber-rich sweet potato provides a healthy and balanced meal to help aid in recovery from a tough workout!
Meal #5 – Cottage Cheese, Blueberries and Chia Seeds
To end your day of healthy eats, have a protein-rich mini meal with a slow digesting protein such as non-fat cottage cheese. Slow digesting proteins can take extended periods to fully digest. In fact, cottage cheese is rich in casein, which is one of the slowest digesting proteins available. This protein can help provide a sustained release of proteins to the body that can help with the recovery process, particularly if you eat this rich protein prior to bedtime. Serve it up with a few sweet antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries as well as chia seeds, which provide a source of healthy omega-3 fats while also helping to reduce appetite via their unique swelling action.
Leidy HJ, et al. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013. 97(4): 677-88.
Montelius C, et al. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Appetite. 2014. 81: 295-304.
Frestedt J, et al. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008. 5:8.