Salads: while dieting, a mixed salad (carious types of lettuce or spinach) can be an indispensable addition. While lettuce might seem lower in nutrients than many vegetables, it contains large amounts of cellulose and water, making it very filling while on low carbs.
Prewashed salad in a bag, of course.
Spinach: although a great source of iron, cholorphyll, and carotenoids, I think the greatest value of spinach lies in its flavor. When lightly cooked in olive oil with diced garlic, it makes a great additive to omelets, baby spinach also I a good alternative to lettuce salads.
Prewashed bagged spinach, frozen spinach that you can heat in your microwave is another practical option.
Broccoli and cauliflower: these cruciferous vegetables are a staple in every bodybuilding diet because they are filling and contain plenty of fiber.
Steam fresh frozen vegetables, with no prep time that you can steam them right in the bag.
Asparagus: rich in folate and B vitamins, asparagus also has a mild diuretic effect making it an excellent pre contest vegetable.
Green beans: because of their convenience, green beans are the canned veggie of choice when you don’t have time to steam fresh veggies.
Mushrooms: they add texture and taste when grilled with onions or chopped into brown or wild rice.
Zucchini and summer squash: these seasonal veggies are filling and taste great when steamed with a touch of lemon and some light herbs.
Tomatoes: although technically a fruit, they tend to normally be grouped with veggies in the produce section.
Bell peppers: available in green, orange, red, and yellow. While grilling can sometimes bring out the flavor of peppers and onions, there may be some loss in nutrient value. Raw or steamed veggies should make up most of your intake, but light grilling or baking is a good way to add variety.
Once considered fruta non grata in bodybuilding diets, fruit has been shown to be an essential part of a lifter’s year round eating program. The nearer the top of the list, the more you can eat.
Grab one ot two bags of frozen berries to be diced into cereal or blended into your Beverly International protein shakes as well as at least one piece of fresh fruit to be eaten each day. Canned pineapple, peaches, or mixed fruit can be mixed into cottage cheese and yogurt. This will allow you to avoid the heavy sugars, syrupy juice concentrates and pseudo healthy preserves found in typical supermarket yogurts.
I’ve listed in priority order what I consider to be the best fruits for the lifer who is interested in improving his/ her body composition, i.e. more muscle and less fat.
Grapefruit: this low calorie fiber source contains naringin (the flavanol that gives grapefruit its tart taste). Naringin has been shown to slow the breakdown of caffeine and to extend the active life of testosterone in the bloodstream. There are also theories that something in grapefruit may reduce insulin secretions and improve fat burning.
Berries: a handful of fresh or frozen berries diced in to your oatmeal or blended into a protein shake, are a low carb way to make your diet more enjoyable.
Lemons and limes: a great low calorie flavoring squeezed over fish, chicken, or veggies
Cantaloupe: half a cantaloupe works great at breakfast, even on a precontest diet.
Peaches: peaches, like berries, are lower carb and great to add to your Ultra Size protein shake. Just don’t go overboard when trying to achieve maximum leanness as they do contain a greater proportion of simple sugars.
Pineapple: pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps with the digestion of protein. For this reason add pineapple to your cottage cheese, yogurt, or on top of your chicken breast right before eating.
Apples and pears: a little higher in carbs but filled with fiber. These fruits work on a gain muscle lose fat diet, but not all the way up to the contest. Apple juice should be avoided because without its inherent fiber, it quickly jacks up blood glucose levels.
Bananas: although a great source of fine fiber and potassium, bananas contain too much simple sugar for us to eat them by the bunch. Depending on your metabolism, you may wish to limit them to half a banana at a sitting. They can be eaten as a snack, diced into your oatmeal or mixed into an Ultra Size shake.
Oranges: oranges are rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. The pith and segment walls contain powerful bioflavonoids that increase the activity of vitamin C. A great self contained snack.