What can help with weight loss? There seems to be so many options: countless diets, weight loss programs, supplements, workouts, books, etc. How do you know what will work for you to lose weight? While there are various ways to lose weight, for long term success research studies suggest eating a diet high in nutrients, lower in energy density, limiting empty calories balanced by other healthy choices like exercising, lowering stress, adequate sleep, etc.
You don’t have to feel like you’re starving to lose weight. In fact, some health experts suggest you SHOULD feel full and satisfied after eating, even if you’re trying to shed fat mass.
How can you do that?
By eating foods high in satiety but low in calories. Foods higher in protein and/or fiber and water content can help keep you full for longer.
This in turn could help lower food intake after eating these foods.
Chicken and brown rice can fall into this category of high nutrient and low calorie foods. Of course just because you start eating chicken and brown rice doesn’t guarantee weight loss, but eating them can help you feel full.
What type of chicken and rice?
Lean white chicken meat is lowest in calories. If you want to eat dark meat, trim extra fat off of darker meat. Whether eating white or dark meat, avoid eating the chicken skin.
Rice is a staple for many worldwide. Rice is high in carbohydrates, so sometimes it gets a bad reputation because high carbohydrate foods can increase blood sugar readily after eating.
The rise in blood sugar can promote the release of insulin, and one of inuslin’s roles is to promote fat storage.
To lower the rise of blood sugar after eating rice, eat protein and fiber with the rice.
Choosing brown rice will provide more fiber, and eating the chicken with the brown rice can further help balance blood sugar levels after digestion.
See also: Is red meat bad for weight loss?
Fiber and protein winning combination
Both fiber and protein can have a satiating effect on the body. Protein takes a longer time to break down in the stomach compared to carbohydrates and fat.
Therefore, if you want to feel satisfied after a meal, it is recommended to eat a healthy protein source with a fiber source.
A 2004 study (1) and many others suggests eating higher protein meals can help lower intake of food afterwards, and higher protein meals increase thermogenesis (calories burned from digestion) and satiety.
Does this mean you should only eat protein for weight loss?
No because there are so many nutrients in other foods lower in protein like fruits and vegetables that are needed for health. Therefore, it’s important to balance your intake for a variety of foods.
Of course, as with any meal, you need to weigh in on how much you are eating. Chances of weight loss are pretty slim if you load up on huge portions of chicken and brown rice.
Exact portion sizes can vary depending on age, activity level, sex, etc.
However, what you can gauge is how full you are while you are eating. If you eat slowly, you can give your body a chance to send a signal to the brain telling when it is full.
Learning how to stop eating when you feel satisfied or full, instead of stuffed, can be helpful for weight loss.
Add in some veggies to make it complete
While chicken and brown rice offers many nutrients, to make it a complete meal add in some fruits and vegetables.
The options are endless: you could have a side salad, stir fry some veggies as a side dish, add some fresh fruit for dessert, etc. Add some color to the plate!
The USDA recommends half of your plate at meal times should be fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, the chicken and brown rice should only take up about half or less of your plate. Fill the other half with different colored fruits and vegetables.
Add flavor healthfully
There are many packaged rice options available that cook very easily. However, some of them are very high in sodium and other flavors.
To avoid these unnecessary additives, cook plain brown rice and fresh chicken and give it your own flavor with herbs, chicken broth, lemons, olive oil, spices, etc.
You can make a big pot of rice and chicken at the beginning of the week and use it for the next few days to heat up quick for leftovers.
Avoid the use of heavy sauces, as these can be high in sodium, sugar, unhealthy fats and other additives.
What other protein and fiber combination are good for weight loss?
Eating brown rice and chicken can provide the satiating effects of protein and fiber. However, by no means is this the only food combination to provide a protein and fiber source.
If you get sick of eating brown rice and chicken, change it up! Other fiber sources can include: oats, barley, couscous, fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc.
Other protein sources include: seafood, lean meats, legumes, nuts, soy, dairy, etc.
The combinations are many; don’t limit yourself to just eating one type of protein and fiber source.
Remember, always try to add in extra vegetables with meals for even more fiber and nutrients.
Eating brown rice and chicken could fit into a healthy weight loss plan. Eating these foods together provide a source of protein and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied.
In fact, some studies suggest eating meals with a higher protein amount may help lower calorie intake at later meals.
Of course just eating brown rice and chicken would be pretty boring, and you would miss out on many nutrients.
You should add in fruits and vegetables with a healthy fat source, like cooking with olive oil, to make the meal complete.
Portion size also needs to be addressed; you can’t eat all the brown rice and chicken you want and expect to lose weight fast.
While exact portion sizes can vary, focus on eating until you are satisfied, not stuffed.