20 Must-Have Foods for Cutting
From the authors that brought you “20 Must-Have Foods for Bulking Up”, we now bring you “20 Must-Have Foods for Cutting”.
The season of bulking has left and many of us are beginning our cutting diets.
During these strenuous times we must stick together, support each other, stay disciplined, and keep many, many avocados on standby (healthy fat).
Not all calories are created equal. Different foods trigger different metabolic pathways in our bodies and can have vastly different effects on hunger levels, hormones, amount of calories burned, etc.
If you’re trying to cut (aka lean out), here are the top 20 foods you’ll want to keep in your fridge and why.
What is a "Cutting Diet"?
A cutting diet is usually used by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to lose weight while maintaining lean muscle mass.
Each cutting diet will differ between individuals. Cutting diets should be specifically tailored to ones macro-nutrient needs. Meaning, a five foot six woman will not need the same protein/carb/fat intake as a six foot tall male.
Calculate these needs based on your weight and lifestyle factors.
Some quick tips before you begin...
1) Choose more fiber-rich foods. Foods with high fiber content (such as non-starchy vegetables) usually contain more nutrients and can help you stay fuller longer; especially while in a calorie deficit.
2) Meal Prep! Preparing meals ahead of time is a sure-fire way to make sure you stay on track and helps avoid the temptation of unhealthy foods. Also, meal prepping can save you lots of time (and even money).
3) Cardio Cardio Cardio. Cardio, when paired alongside weightlifting and a cutting diet, may further your fat loss.
4) WATER! Staying hydrated is the key to success. Water is ESSENTIAL to our well-being and overall health. More so, staying hydrated will help curb your appetite and temporarily speed up your metabolism.
Okay... now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into it.
Here are the Top 20 Foods to incorporate into your cutting diet:
#1 Whole Eggs
Once shunned for fear of being high in cholesterol, whole eggs have made quite the comeback.
Whole eggs are one of the best foods to eat if you need to lose weight. They’re high in protein and fat, and quite satisfying if prepared right.
They are also incredibly nutrient dense. One large whole egg contains almost 7 grams of protein. (1) So if you're on a cutting diet, these bad boys will make a great addition to your meals.
Tread cautiously, however, because while whole eggs are a good source of protein, the yolk contains most of the fat content. If you are counting macros and want to keep your fat intake down, try egg whites instead. For fat loss, you should probably not consume more than 2-3 whole eggs per day. Egg whites, however, you can consume 4-6 ounces per day. (And they’re also very yummy)
#2 Leafy Greens
Let’s hear it for leafy greens!!! *silence*
Okay, we know foods like kale, spinach, and collards aren’t super exciting, but they are some of the best choices when it comes to weight loss. Among the many properties that make leafy greens good for weight loss, being low in calories, carbs, and being loaded in fiber are probably the most important.
Leafy greens are a great way to increase the volume of your meal without increasing the calories by a huge amount. They are also a great source of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which have shown to aid fat burning in some studies. (2)
Salmon is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fat and various important nutrients.
Fish – and seafood in general – are also a great source of iodine; a nutrient necessary for proper thyroid function, which helps keep your metabolism running optimally.
Salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to play a major role in reducing inflammation in the body.
A half filet (178 g) of salmon contains just under 40 grams of protein! (3)
#4 Lean Beef and Chicken Breast
Meat has been unfairly blamed for various health problems, despite the lack of good evidence to back up these claims.
The truth is meat is a weight-loss-friendly food because it is so high in protein.
Protein is by far the most filling nutrient (then fat, then carbs) and eating a high-protein diet can help you feel and stay fuller, longer. (4)
In fact, in my experience, most people who feel like they ‘can’t lose weight’ is because they are severely under-cutting their protein intake.
If you’re on a moderate to high carb diet, try sticking with lean meats. If you’re on a low carb diet, feel free to eat the fatty meats.
Tuna is another brilliant protein source. Containing 6.5 grams of protein per ounce, tuna is low in fat and calories. Tuna is very popular among bodybuilders and fitness models who’re on a cut. It’s a great way to increase your protein intake while maintaining a low calorie and low fat diet. (5)
Tip: If you’re trying to emphasize protein intake, make sure to choose tuna canned in water, not oil.
#6 Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese delivers 28 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, and includes a healthy dose of the extremely important mineral, calcium. There are many versions of cottage cheese; some have high-fat content, and thus more calories. Choose the one that will best align with your goal. (6)
#7 Avocados (My personal favorite)
Avocado is packed full of nutrients and is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, which is perfect for adding healthy calories to your diet. Avocados are also extremely versatile; add them to salads, on top of stir fry, spread it onto toast, etc. You can even make things such as avocado nice-cream and avocado cheesecake (which are surprisingly good). (7)
#8 Turkey Breast
A 3-ounce serving of turkey breast contains around 25 grams of protein with little to no fat or carbs. Turkey is also rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and niacin (which help process fats and carbohydrates in your body.) (8)
Nuts are among the best sources of plant-based proteins. On top of being a great source of protein, a 2017 review study found that nuts may help prevent risk factors, such as inflammation and chronic diseases. Another great thing about nuts is they’re easily accessible and widely available. If you’re on the go and are in need of a high protein snack nuts can easily be your best friend. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and walnuts have the highest protein content. (In that order)
#10 Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular in the natural health community.
Several human-based studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can be useful for weight loss and provide a number of other health benefits.
Other types of vinegar may provide similar benefits, although those with lower acetic acid content might have less potent effects.
About 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar per day is recommended to obtain full weight loss benefits. For best results, mix with water and drink. (9)
These crustaceans pack a protein punch for very few calories. One ounce (4 large shrimp) has 30 calories, 6 grams of protein and has minimal fat. Shrimp is also a good source of vitamin D and selenium and even contains several energy-boosting B-vitamins. (10)
#12 Sweet Potato
One medium sweet potato has 105 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Sweet potatoes are not only filling, they're also packed with 400% of your daily recommended amount of the antioxidant vitamin A. Make a sweet potato mash, add chunks to chili or stews or roast with a touch of cinnamon. (11)
#13 Chia Seeds
These little seeds pack a major nutritional punch. A tablespoon contains 69 calories, largely thanks to the seeds’ heart-healthy fats, plus 5.5 grams of fiber. It’s no surprise they make a welcome addition to everything from smoothies to puddings. (12)
This whole grain is packed with both hunger fighting fiber AND protein—a winning combination for weight loss. One cup of cooked quinoa has 223 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. It's also packed with nutrients like B-vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron and selenium. Add it to soups, stews, chili, salads, etc. (13)
Watermelon, which gets its pretty color from the antioxidant lycopene, is a juicy, delicious way to make sure you’re staying hydrated—a key factor in weight loss for various reasons. When you’re drinking enough water, all your systems (including your metabolism) are better able to work at their maximum capacity. Plus, proper hydration prevents you from confusing thirst for hunger, which can lead you to overeat throughout the day. 1 cup only contains 46 calories. (14)
Artichokes are delicious when marinated in a little olive oil, thrown on a salad, or added to lightened pasta dishes. This vegetable has more fiber than any other vegetable, making it one of the best choices when you're looking to boost your fiber intake. Artichokes are also loaded with antioxidants, which can lower inflammation to promote weight loss. (15)
If giving up pasta is the hardest part of making changes to help lose weight, zucchini noodles are a healthier alternative. We like to think of them as pasta's lower-carb and higher-in-nutrition cousin because zucchini is a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium for only about 33 calories per zucchini. You can use them as zoodles (zucchini noodles), munch on them as is with some dip, roast them, or add to salads. (16)
Broccoli is another vegetable that gives you great nutritional bang for your buck. It's loaded with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium and actually contains more protein that most other vegetables. You can add it to pretty much anything—eggs, juice, pasta, pizza, stir-fries, and more. (17)
Keep hummus in your fridge, and you'll never have to opt for an unhealthy snack again. You can pair the protein-packed condiment on raw veggies, serve it on salad, or use it in place of mayo on a sandwich — saving tons of calories in the process. Buy a tub, or make your own. (18) (19)
We know water is a ‘food’, but we’ve included it on this list because it is imperative to losing weight, and for your overall health. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, drinking more water helps your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight. (20)
Must-Have Supplements While Cutting
ThermoShred - Thermogenic Fat Burner
Eating in a calorie deficit can be rough not only for your energy levels but also the constant feeling of being hungry! ThermoShred is our favorite supplement on the market to help with weight loss because it has FOUR modes of action that not only help with increasing energy but also supercharge your weight loss goals!
BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
Green Tea Leaf Extract, is not only rich in antioxidants, but contains organic compounds like caffeine and EGCG, which are thermogenic and have powerful effects on metabolism. Green Coffee Bean Extract is naturally high in chlorogenic acids, which act as a natural metabolism booster and fat burner.
ThermoShred contains Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange), which is a highly effective, thermogenic weight loss and appetite suppressant. In clinical studies, it has shown to have a significant increase in resting metabolic rate, and helps aid in weight loss.
INCREASE ENERGY & FOCUS
ThermoShred contains all-natural caffeine source that supports sustainable energy throughout the day. L-Theanine works synergistically with caffeine to help your body use the stimulatory effects of caffeine productively; without jitters or loss of focus. 5-HTP is an amino acid naturally produced in our bodies’, which helps increase energy levels, improving mood, and aiding in weight loss support.
TRANSFORM YOUR PHYSIQUE
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) has several benefits proven in studies. It promotes the burning of fat into energy, reduces food intake, and boosts metabolism; all along with its powerful antioxidant effects. In studies, Raspberry Ketones, increased fat breakdown—primarily by making the cells more susceptible to the fat-burning hormone, no-repinephrine
OptiNOs - Nitric Oxide Booster & Muscle Builder
OptiNOs is an excellent supplement for everyone no matter your goal. OptiNOs is designed to work with every athlete's goal by improving endurance, recovery, and muscle building. OptiNOs redirects more of the protein you consume for muscle building rather than being used as fuel. By redirecting more of the protein you are eating for muscle building more fats and carbs are used for energy, resulting in a leaner physique.
OptiNOs also supports strength gains. In clinical studies, precipitants saw a 58lb increase in bench press, 78lb increase in leg press, 12x average increase in arm size, and 4x more lean muscle over the placebo group.
OptiNOs will not only help you cut faster, but while you are cutting you will see a significant increase in your strength gains!
Whey+ - Whey Isolate, Collagen Peptides, BCAAs, & Digestive Enzymes
When your cutting it might be hard to get all the protein you need for muscle building. Whey+ Superior Absorption has 26G of protein, less than a gram of fat, and NO CARBS!! Whey Protein Isolate has been formulated to be everyone’s choice for pure, clean, fast-digesting whey protein isolate. Whey+ is supercharged with collagen peptides, enzyme blend, and a vitamin and mineral blend to help maximize protein absorption and boost muscle building.
All of those sound great? Check out our stacks and bundles to help keep your wallet a lot thicker!