Cutting your calories (otherwise known as “going on a cut”) seems like a straightforward concept. Just eat less food for a certain amount of time and you’ll lose body fat. Simple, right?

Of course, anyone who’s actually done a cut knows it’s much easier said than done. It’s not always easy to willpower your way through the cravings. 

Then there’s the matter of macros. How the heck are you supposed to stay under a set calorie limit while reaching a high protein goal at the same time?

Before you resort to stress-ordering an entire pizza out of sheer desperation, take a look at these 10 essential foods for any cut.

1. Vegetables

Vegetables are an absolute essential on a cut. They’re high-fibre and low calorie, which means you can eat a lot of them (great news for volume eaters!). Oh, and they’re also pretty bloody good for you.

Aim for two cups of vegetables with every meal to stay satiated and nourished. Raw, steamed, mashed, roasted, pickled— it doesn’t matter how you eat them. Just eat them.

2. Protein Powder

No, this isn’t just a suggestion to drink protein shakes (you’re probably having plenty of those already).

Protein powder is very versatile. Sweetened, unsweetened, whey or plant-based, epic flavours like cookies and cream— the possibilities are endless. Not to mention it’s an easy way to hit your daily protein goal.

Protein powder is your key to enjoying dessert on a cut. Use it in place of flour to make pancakes and mug cakes for a high-protein, low-calorie after dinner treat.

3. Gelatine

Gelatine is one underrated ingredient. It’s the key to making low-calorie protein pudding— just mix with hot water, add flavouring and sweetener, and set overnight in the fridge. You can even make jelly lollies. 

The best thing about gelatine? It’s super filling.

4. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a gift sent from the gains gods. It’s high protein, low calorie, and available in a range of fat percentages.

You can add Greek yogurt to just about anything for a dose of protein, creaminess, and tangy flavour. Add a dollop to your morning oats. Enjoy it as a snack. Create a magical cheesecake-like dessert with lemon and gelatine. The possibilities are endless.

5. Almond Milk

It’s low calorie, has fewer carbs and calories than cow’s milk, and is here to save you from watery protein shakes and black coffee. Seriously— life’s too short to eat oats cooked in water.

6. Seasonings and Spices

Eating bland chicken breast with broccoli and rice is no way to live. Equip yourself with some essential spices like garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a basic dried herbs mix. It’s all you need to transform your boring diet meals into something that’s actually enjoyable.

Love the sweet stuff? Make your snacks a little more exciting with spices like cinnamon to make those apple slices taste more like the distant memory of grandma’s signature apple pie.

7. Sauces

Salsa and chilli sauces (like tabasco) are extremely low calorie and add a much-needed dose of flavour to any meal. Even scrambled egg whites are incredible with a little chilli sauce.

8. Frozen Fruit

Need a sweet treat that you can slowly snack on? Grab some grapes. Freeze them. You’re welcome.

Plus, you can make delicious ice cream by blending frozen fruit (like berries or banana) with almond milk. And yes, you can add protein powder to that.

9. Egg Whites

Egg whites are the ultimate low-calorie, high-protein food. Eat them scrambled. Mix with veggies and cook into an omelette. Add them to oats. Add a dash to your protein pancake mix for extra fluffy pancakes.

Don’t want to waste the yolks? You can buy a carton of egg whites from the supermarket for easy protein on demand.

10. High-Fat Foods

Wait, what? Fat? Isn’t that high in calories? Yes, it is— but it’s also satiating. That means you’ll feel full for longer on less food.

That doesn’t mean eating fries. Opt for a dollop of cream-based sauce on your meal, or choose a fattier cut of meat like chicken thigh over breast. It might just stop you from reaching for the chips later on.

Just be mindful of your portions. Some things, like, nuts, are way too easy to overeat. Remember, a spoonful of peanut butter doesn’t mean as much as you can pile on the spoon.

Want more nutrition tips? Check out our blog post on How to Stick to Healthy Eating When Dining Out, and don’t forget to check back regularly for more expert advice!