Eating “cleaner” foods helps mainly because they are less calorie dense and make you feel more full after each meal, not because they possess magical calories that are different from other “dirty” foods with similar macros. Majority of the questions I get from day-to-day consist of how to go about cutting if you’ve never really done it before. A ton a people have the mind set that foods you eat during your cut have to be super clean and minimally processed. Eating “cleaner” foods helps mainly because they are less calorie dense and make you feel more full after each meal, not because they possess magical calories that are different from other “dirty” foods with similar macros. It’s simple: weight loss comes from being in a calorie deficit. Fast food doesn’t make you fat simply because it’s “fast food”, it makes you fat cause it’s easier to go through 2000 calories in a single McDonald’s meal without even trying than it is to go through 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of 2% milk (300 calories), 3 scrambled eggs (210 calories), and a full glass of water.
I have a few foods that I consider staples, mainly because they’re easy to make and because I’ve sort of fell into a routine of making them. I no particular order:
Non-flavored oatmeal (A few packets of Splenda and cinnamon goes a long way with managing the bland test)
Natural peanut butter (Natural kind with oil separation tastes better to me, just preference)
Reduced-sugar jelly (Lower sugar = less carbs = lower calories)
Skinless chicken breasts
Sliced smoked turkey or ham
Microwavable bacon (pretty calorie dense… but 120 calories for 3 slices, hard for me to pass up sometimes)
Low-calorie jello pudding
Peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread (my “goto” snack)
Every now and then I’ll swing by a fast food drive through if I’m really low on calories that day and pick something that’s somewhat low on calories and high on protein, which is usually some sort of chicken. If you need something to slightly suppress your appetite, the EC stack works well in doing just that as long as you actually try and make an effort to count your calories.
There are going to be days when you can’t really avoid eating a ton of calories or it becomes hard to estimate (eating out with family or friends, getting together and eating for the holidays, etc), best just to control what you can on the days that doesn’t make it hard. Just don’t skip out on family get-togethers just because you’re afraid of going over your calories, definitely not that big of deal for one day.