Getting the right vitamins and nutrients into your body while you are dieting is important for you to shed those unwanted pounds without sacrificing your health. Here are some foods to include in healthy meal plans to lose weight.

Foods That Contain Iron, Protein and Calcium

Iron is found in trace amounts in the blood. This substance helps the body form hemoglobin and transports oxygen to the cells. Iron is also responsible for regulating the body temperature. If there is not enough of this nutrient in your body, you will feel tired and weak. You may also be pale and have cold hands and feet.

Natural meats, fish, poultry, beans and leafy green vegetables are excellent sources or iron. Iron from plant sources are not absorbed by the body as efficiently as iron from animal sources. If you are vegetarian and get most of your iron from veggies, include plenty of foods that contain vitamin C to improve iron absorption from plants.

Calcium is the foundation of a strong frame. Being deficient in this nutrient can weaken your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis. This condition causes the bones to become porous and fragile. Osteoporosis can also cause curvature of the spine.

Foods that are rich in calcium include broccoli, watercress, kale, okra, chick peas, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds and almonds. Raw milk is also a good source of calcium, but calcium obtain from plant-based sources are absorbed better by the body.

Protein is the building block of the body; it is vital to every living cell in your system. This compound is important for the muscles, organs, skin, hair and nails. Protein also helps the body repair itself after it is has sustained injuries.

Protein deficiency can cause lethargy, muscle soreness, edema, brittle hair, headaches, stomach pain, low energy levels, slow healing, dry skin, skin rashes, crankiness, depression, skin ulcers and difficulty sleeping.

Eating natural meats, fish, organic whole eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds will provide your body with the protein it needs to stay healthy.

Foods That Contain Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats

Fats in the diet have a bad reputation. But polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are essential for the brain, cells, nerves, eyes, lungs and organs to work properly.

Fats slow down digestion so you body will have longer to absorb vital nutrients. Good fats help reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Fats are also filling, so they help curb your appetite so you eat less throughout the day. Healthy sources of polyunsaturated fats include flaxseed oil, walnuts and fish. Healthy sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and avocados.

Healthy Foods That Contain Carbohydrates

When carbohydrates are digested, the body breaks them down and turns them into glucose. Once the carbs are converted into glucose, they are stored for energy. When you do not get enough carbohydrates in your system, you won’t have the energy to perform during the day.

Some experts recommend that 40 to 65 percent of your dietary energy comes from carbohydrates. However, not all types of carbohydrates are good for you. Simple carbs such as white bread, pasta and pastries digest quickly, so they raise your blood sugar levels.

The complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, brown rice, legumes and sprouted grain breads digest slower and help you maintain healthy blood-glucose levels. These foods also keep you full longer, so you eat less.

There is no need to sacrifice your health just because you want to shed some weight. Wholesome meal plans will help you get the vital nutrients your body needs to remain healthy while you lose weight.

Healthy meal plans to lose weight should be realistic and sustainable. Learn how to lose weight and keep it off at

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