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What Foods Should I Eat When I'm on a Diet?

By Sylvie Tremblay, MSc ; Updated July 18, 2017

A healthy diet provides your body with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your cells need to function normally. In addition, eating high-quality nutritious foods, especially when combined with an exercise program, can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, reducing the risk of obesity-related disorders like heart disease. When on a diet, you can eat a wide range of nutritious and delicious foods to support good health.

Vegetables and Fruits

When you are on a diet, the majority of your diet should consist of fruits and vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables provide a rich source of dietary fiber -- plant material that passes through your digestive system, unchanged. Dietary fiber absorbs water in your gastrointestinal tract, swelling in size to help make you feel full, explains Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Fruits and vegetables also contain essential vitamins and minerals, providing your body with nutrients required for proper metabolism and good health. Consume several servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and choose foods in a range of colors to help you consume a range of nutrients.

Lean Proteins

If you are on a diet, you should also consume lean proteins. Foods with lean protein may come from plant sources, such as tofu or tempeh, or from animal sources, like poultry and fish. Protein-rich foods provide your body with amino acids, which are then recycled to make human proteins within your cells. Consuming protein on your diet allows for proper tissue maintenance, and also helps repair the muscle damage that can occur after a hard workout. The Harvard School of Public Health indicates that your body needs 0.8 to 1g of dietary protein for each 1kg of body weight. Aim to have a source protein in your meals and snacks.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds should also make up a portion of your diet. These foods provide a rich source of dietary fiber to help you feel full and protein to help maintain and repair your tissues. Nuts and seeds also provide a source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University indicates that people who eat nuts regularly often weigh less than those who do not, and that nuts and seeds make up a part of a healthy diet. Since nuts are calorie-dense foods, so only have small portions of nuts on your diet, to facilitate weight loss. A 1-oz. serving of nuts makes a healthy snack without too many calories.

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