Spring time is here and the summer is fast approaching. Soon it will be time for the masses to ditch their shirts and soak in the sun on the beach or by the pool. Now is the time for you to start cleaning up your meals and stripping off the layer of fat that is keeping you from looking your best!
The secret to getting shredded is to reduce total calories and cut added sugars while keeping the total volume of food that you consume relatively the same. You accomplish this by eating whole fruits and vegetables and lean, quality proteins. Aside from the obvious junk foods that sabotage your progress here are 10 foods that can keep you from getting more shredded than a tree limb through a wood chipper!
1. Sauces and dressings
There is no better way to turn a healthy salad or chicken breast into a sugar and fat laden meal than to smother it with a dressing or sauce that is high in saturated fat and simple sugar. If you are trying to get shredded you need to be aware of exactly what is in the dressings or sauces that are being used to flavor your food.
If you need to add flavor to your food opt for using apple-cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and low calorie options that can still supply flavor without the added calories.
Juice in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you are trying to lean out they can provide a lot of calories from carbohydrates without the fiber that the original fruits and vegetables contain and as a result you will feel hungry much sooner than if had eaten the same amount of calories from the fruit or vegetables themselves.
3. Deli and mixed meats
The meats that are found in the deli are often low quality leftovers that have been processed and filled with other ingredients like sodium and nitrates and other bonding agents to give them structure, color, and more flavor. Sodium is the enemy for anyone who is trying to get shredded because it makes you retain water and nitrates have been linked to various forms of cancer.
If you are trying to get shredded, stick to high quality whole sources of meat such as whole chicken breast, turkey, lean beef cuts and lean pork. If you are having trouble meeting your protein requirements for the day throw in a couple of whey protein shakes to boost your total protein intake.
4. Glazed nuts and cocktail nuts
Raw nuts are a great source of healthy fats that should be included in your meals but do not mistakenly put glazed, roasted, salty nuts on the same level as raw nuts. If you are trying to get shredded you need to make every calorie count and consuming candied and coated nuts is a great way to add calories and salt that are unnecessary and rob you of calories that could be used to keep you more full later on down the road.
Salted nuts can cause you to retain water too which will leave your muscles looking soft and bloated instead of hard and full. Stick to raw nuts as a snack to hold you over in between meals.
If you are eating with the intention of getting shredded bagels are a bad choice. A plain bagel without any sort of spread or topping is already high in calories most of them coming from carbs. A plain bagel can contain up to 300 calories and 61 grams of carbohydrates before you add any sort of spread! It is best to avoid bagels all together if you are trying to get shredded opt for grains sources like quinoa, brown rice, and oats instead.
6. Sports drinks
While sports drinks my seem to be a healthier alternative to drinking soda they often times have just as much sugar in them and are a great way to add calories to a meal without adding any sort of food volume that will help keep you full for any length of time. Stick with water and a lot of it when you are on a mission to get shredded.
7. Canned fruit
It’s fruit...it has to be good for getting shredded? Think twice! Canned fruit is often packaged in a sugary syrup which adds greatly to the calorie content and wreaks havoc on your blood sugar leaving you feeling tired and hungry even though you just ate a couple minutes prior. If you are going to eat fruit pick it out of the produce isle and stay away from the canned type.
8. Dried or dehydrated fruit
Whenever you are trying to get shredded you need to stick with food that is as close to the state that it was in when it was picked or butchered. Dehydrated fruit or dried fruit is no exception to this rule. When the fruit is dried it loses much of its volume (from water content) which is responsible for keeping you full and has more calories than when it was a whole piece of fruit.
For example, ½ cup of raisins has 240 calories and 64 carbs while a ½ cup of whole red grapes has 55 calories and 14 grams of carbs. Stick to whole fruits and vegetables while trying to cut calories, it will help you stay full and fueled properly on your quest to get shredded.
9. Meal Replacement Shakes
When you are trying to get shredded you need to reduce calories to burn fat that doesn’t mean that you need to be hungry though. Drinking your calories from a meal replacement shake is a great way to stay hungry even though many meal replacements contain in excess of 250 calories and often times more. To avoid feeling hungry all the time stick to whole foods in a calorie deficit because whole foods provide much needed food volume to keep you full from meal to meal.
10. Flavored Instant Oatmeal
Eating oatmeal is a great way to provide your body a steady source of carbs and is a way to stay full for hours after eating. But, when you look at flavored instant oats you are looking at oatmeal that has been maximally processed and infused with sugar. In order for instant oatmeal to be “instant” it has to be processed in order to readily absorb the water. The processing that instant oats undergo lower the amount of fiber and speed up the rate of digestion leaving you hungry sooner.
In addition, the sugar that is added to the oats is empty calories that sends your blood sugar soaring signaling your body to store fat. Oats are an awesome source of carbs and protein but you need to be careful what type you're eating. If you want to use oats as a carb source while you are trying to get shredded try steel-cut oats or rolled oats which are minimally processed and take longer to cook. If cook time is an issue, make a big batch and freeze half until you are ready eat it.