There’s an old saying: “Abs are made in the kitchen.” But perhaps the following statement is more accurate: “Abs are destroyed in the kitchen!” And at the drive-thru. And anywhere else you get your food.
That’s because when it comes to your diet, there’s a guaranteed way to fail: not planning for the inevitable.
Yes, it would be great if you could carefully prepare every meal to fit your nutrition plan. But you will get busy. You will get tired. You will get lazy. And that’s when you need a backup plan.
My solution: These 7 “fat loss” foods that will make your life easier—and help you get leaner. You can turn to them whenever you’re crunched for time or just tired of making dinner. Think of them as the go-to foods that will keep you on the fast track to a six-pack. And for a complete meal plan that will help you drop pounds fast, check out my new Men’s Health book The MetaShred Diet.
1. Rotisserie Chicken. These slow-cooked birds are available at just about any supermarket. They’re a fast and ready-to-eat source of high-quality protein.
If you’re ever in a pinch for a meal, just reach for a rotisserie chicken and pair with your favorite vegetable.
2. Pre-Cooked Chicken Sausages. Adding new flavors and tastes to your diet is easy with brands such as Al Fresco and Trader Joe’s. These lean protein sources are already cooked so you just need to heat them—and eat them.
3. Plain Greek Yogurt. Skip the varieties with the fruit added already, as those come with lots of added sugar. Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein and half the carbs of traditional yogurt, making it a creamy snack you can enjoy any time of the day.
Related: The 20 Best Snacks for Men
4. Plain Kefir. This is a fermented milk product that has a thickness somewhere between cream and yogurt. (Think of it as drinkable yogurt.)
The plain versions contain almost a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Kefir also has enough probiotics to keep your digestive track functioning at its best. I personally have a cup each day at breakfast.
5. Pre-Cut Vegetables. Everyone knows that vegetables are great for you, but many people say that cutting them up is too much of a hassle. Fortunately, there’s a growing trend in grocery stores to remove this barrier of entry.
From diced pepper and onions to shredded Brussels sprouts, you should be able to find just about any vegetable you want—ready to toss into a roasting pan or skillet, or simply eat raw.
6. Smoked Salmon. This is one of my favorite non-traditional snacks. It’s carb-free, and full of satiating protein and fat.
Having smoked salmon for a snack will quickly redefine your idea of “diet food.”
7. Cheese Sticks. A protein-rich snack doesn’t get any more portable (and proportioned) than a couple of cheese sticks. From the traditional string cheese—which is mozzarella—to more recent pepper or Colby jack cheese sticks, these should always be in your refrigerator.
Pair them with a small piece of fruit for a snack, or chop them up on a salad.