The key to healthy weight loss over 50 is by creating a balanced diet (with ample protein and fiber), exercising regularly, and not overdoing it. With that said, we checked in with dietitians, nutritionists and other health experts to learn more about essential nutrients your body needs for not only healthy aging, but in order to lose weight, if that is your goal. With the coldest months of the year just around the corner, we rounded up tasty and healthy stew recipes as well, to aid your weight loss journey!
Read on for suggestions and insight from Nicole Olen, RDN, registered dietitian, nutritionist and health expert, Jake Dickson, CPT-NASM, certified personal trainer and contributing editor at BarBend, Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, registered dietitian and owner of Thyme To Go Vegan Nutrition Services.
1. Cannellini Bean Stew
Fiber is not only essential for a healthier digestion over 50, Olen explains, but also vital for healthy weight loss, as eating enough of it will keep you satiated and fuller for longer (and less likely to snack more later on!)
For a quick way to add more fiber to your seasonal stew, Olen suggests following a recipe with beans, such as this one. “For more fibre, swap out your beef, pork, or. chicken with lentils or beans instead,” she advises, adding that “lots of soups, stews & slow cooker meals can easily use beans as well.” For dipping, she suggests “swapping out refined grains for whole-grain options when you can, like whole-wheat bread, English muffins, bagels, or tortillas” to go along with your stew.
This stew recipe has plenty of vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, onions) and fiber-filled beans to support your weight loss journey, while also keeping you cozy on a warm day.
Ingredients: Onions, garlic, carrots, extra virgin olive oil, chopped tomatoes, dried bay leaves, vegetable stock cubes, water, cannellini beans, wholemeal bread (optional)
2. Slow Cooker Moroccan Chickpea & Turkey Stew
While fiber is crucial for healthy weight loss, protein is as well, Dickson explains. By centering your favorite winter stew around a protein source, you will be able to stay satiated and build lean muscle (and shed fat in the process). For a cozy (and clever option with Thanksgiving coming up), Dickson recommends using ground turkey in your stew (and you can use leftover turkey from the upcoming holiday!) “In place of ground beef, I think ground turkey is a popular choice [for weight loss-friendly stews] because of the meat’s low fat and high protein content,” Dickson says.
It’s versatile enough to be “thrown into a wide range of dishes, from soups to stews,” he continues, adding, “true, some cuts of turkey are healthier than others, but the whole bird is healthy and lean.” He also advises to be wary of “prepackaged lunchmeats, as they frequently include excessive amounts of salt and other unhealthy additives.” This stew recipe is not only weight loss-friendly, but also gluten-free. It includes ground turkey and chickpeas, another great source of protein. It also features tasty ingredients and spices that promote optimal gut health, like turmeric, paprika, and essential veggies like carrots and celery.
Ingredients: lean ground turkey, extra virgin olive oil, chopped onions, garlic cloves, poblano peppers, carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, fat free chicken broth, turmeric, paprika, coriander, bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes, coarse salt, parsley , spearmint
3. Quinoa & Vegetable Stew
When you begin working towards a weight loss goal, being realistic and attainable is important for sustainable success, Best explains. “A healthy and sustainable weight loss is typically around 1-2 pounds per week,” she points out, while reiterating that stews that are “rich in fiber, protein, and/or healthy fats” will help keep you full and satisfied while “Not increasing your calorie intake significantly.” She specifically recommends opting for quinoa in your meal, as it is a “plant-based complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids.”
Complete proteins are typically “animal food sources only,” she notes, which makes quinoa ideal for any vegan diet. “It is also gluten free, high in fiber, and antioxidants,” she says, and these characteristics make it an ideal grain for a gluten free diet, as well. Ultimately, apart from promoting healthy weight loss, the “fiber and antioxidant content” in quinoa are beneficial for immune health. This stew recipe includes quinoa along with other healthy vegetables and sources of carbohydrates such as corn, peas and red potatoes.
Ingredients: Olive oil, chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic, paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, low-sodium vegetable broth, red potatoes, white quinoa, corn, tomatoes, frozen peas, salt and pepper, queso fresco or feta cheese crumbled, avocadoes , minced cilantro
4. Sweet Potato Stew
Another great vegetable for weight loss is a sweet potato, Wells says, and these can be added to any great stew for a healthy source of carbohydrates, energy, antioxidants, and more. When it comes to stews, soups and other hot meals, she instructs to “include starchy vegetables” like sweet potatoes in them. “Starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes provide fiber and antioxidants, in addition to their energy-providing carbohydrates.” She adds that these foods help “keep you full for longer throughout the day,” and when making stew, it’s important to include resistant starch.
“When cooked and cooled, some starchy foods form resistant starch,” Wells notes bacteria, continuing that “resistant starch acts like fiber in the gut, promoting feelings of satiety, decreasing hunger, and providing fuel for the beneficial in your gut.” This stew centers entirely around sweet potatoes, and also features the gut-loving spice turmeric, the healthy digestion-promoting veggie, kale, and anti-inflammatory coconut milk.
Ingredients: olive oil, white or yellow onion diced, chopped fresh ginger, garlic cloves grated or diced, pink salt or sea salt, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, carrots sliced, spinach or chopped kale, sweet potato diced , vegetable stock, full-fat coconut milk, cooked jasmine, basmati, or wild rice