IT IS SO EASY FOR US TO NEGLECT OUR DIETARY NEEDS. YOU AREN'T THE ONLY ONE FEELING LIKE YOU'RE TOO BUSY TO EAT RIGHT, PUTTING THE NEEDS OF YOUR FAMILY FIRST, OR TRYING TO ADHERE TO AN EXTREME DIET THAT LEAVES YOU FEELING CRANKY, HUNGRY, & LOW ON ENERGY. FIGURING OUT YOUR NUTRITION NEEDS ALL WHILE COPING WITH MEDIA PRESSURE TO LOOK & EAT A CERTAIN WAY CAN MAKE MAINTAINING A HEALTHY DIET CONFUSING & OVERWHELMING. BELOW ARE 20 OF MY FAVORITE TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET BACK ON TRACK & MAKE NUTRITIOUS & HEALTHY CHOICES. THESE ARE THE WHAT I RECOMMEND TO ALL OF MY CLIENTS & RULES I LIVE BY EVERY SINGLE DAY.
1) CUT OUT JUNK & PROCESSED FOODS. Avoid refined & processed foods whenever possible. I'm referring to the stuff you hide in your kitchen cupboards & feel guilty about eating, but you do it anyway. If it's lying around the house, throw it out & stop buying it! Replace those foods with healthy alternatives. This leads perfectly to my next trip.
2) Shop Better As a good rule of thumb at the grocery store, stick to the perimeter. This is where you'll find the sections for fresh produce, meat, seafood & dairy. Adhering to this footpath not only ensures a quicker shopping experience, but it also means your meals will centre around fresh ingredients & whole foods.
3) Control your portions. This one isn't rocket science. Try to keep a handle on portion sizes if you want to tackle your nutrition head-on. Aim for a fist-size serving of veggies, a fist-size serving of carbs, a palm-sized serving of protein & a thumb-sized serving of healthy fats. If you're in charge of the cooking, scale back the amount you're putting on each plate. Even something as simple as switching out your jumbo-sized diner plates for something smaller can help.
4) COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE (OR MORE) - AKA MEAL PREP Think beyond the meal you're about to eat. Get into the habit of making extra rice, meat & veggies while you're preparing meals, so you have those ingredients on hand as a quick & easy meal or add-on later in the week. The great thing about this CPT Fit Fuel Guide is that most recipes are easy to make in larger portions for meal prepping. When you plan your meals, you set your health goals up for success because you'll be prepared & less likely to find yourself starving in the drive-through. It might take you a little longer to cook everything initially, but meal prepping saves you so much time & stress later on. Even though it's the most annoying drawer in the kitchen, Tupperware is your friend!
5) Eat More We recommend eating six times a day (3 meals & 3 snacks). This provides your body with a consistent & frequent supply of fuel. Eating around every 2.5 hours keeps your energy levels higher & your metabolism ticking faster. In turn, this makes your body burn more calories throughout the day & (bonus points) you'll feel a lot less hangry!
6) Take it easy on fruit. While fruit is an excellent source of fibre & many vitamins & minerals, it is easy to go overboard & overeat. In turn, your sugar & carbohydrate intake will be excessive. Rather than ditching fruit altogether, try limiting yourself to one serving of fruit at a time with a meal or snack, just 2-3 times a day.
7) Eat Protein With Every Meal & Snack Many people think lots of protein will make you big & bulky. Yes, protein is essential when it comes to building muscle. However, fat loss is also essential because the more lean muscle your body has, the more calories your body burns. When you include protein in every snack & meal, your body will stay in an anabolic state. This means that you burn off your fat while maintaining your lean muscle. This is how you achieve a tight & toned body. Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient & will keep you fuller for longer - making it easier not to overeat.
8) Fill Up on vegetable Vegetables are low calorie/high volume food. You can eat a lot of them without consuming too many unwanted calories & you will feel fuller because they take up a lot of room in your tummy. Actual vegetables are low in starchy carbs but high in fibre. These include foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach & kale. Corn is high in starchy carbs & is technically not a veggie, even though most people think it is. The same goes for potatoes. Corn & potatoes aren't bad to eat; they just shouldn't be considered veggies on your plate!
9) Eat Slowly and only until Satisfied It takes your brain about 15-20 minutes to know that you have eaten enough. This is why you should aim to have meals last at least this long. A trick I learned that has now become a habit is to take a sip of water between every 1 or 2 bites. This slows down your eating, fills you up more, so you don't overeat, & keeps you more hydrated! For weight loss, maintenance & general health, eat only until you are satisfied, not until stuffed!
10) CRAZY DIETS DON'T WORK! We recommend eating six times a day (3 meals & 3 snacks). This provides your body with a consistent & frequent supply of fuel. Eating around every 2.5 hours keeps your energy levels higher & your metabolism ticking faster. In turn, this makes your body burn more calories throughout the day & (bonus points) you'll feel a lot less hangry! 5. EAT OFTEN Vegetables are low calorie/high volume food. You can eat a lot of them without consuming too many unwanted calories & you will feel fuller because they take up a lot of room in your tummy. Actual vegetables are low in starchy carbs but high in fibre. These include foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach & kale. Corn is high in starchy carbs & is technically not a veggie, even though most people think it is. The same goes for potatoes. Corn & potatoes aren't harmful to eat; they just shouldn't be considered veggies on your plate! 8. FILL UP ON VEGGIES Fad or short-term diets may provide faster results, but as soon as they end & you start eating normal again, you will gain the weight right back, & then some! Instead, a lifestyle change is necessary. I suggest making healthy eating habits a part of daily life rather than following some limiting plan that is difficult to keep up with & could be hurting your health.
11) DINE OUT ON OCCASION Never want to consume a meal that consists solely of one macronutrient. If you don't know, the three macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins & fats. You want to ensure that each meal includes each of them. For example, plain oatmeal is not a balanced meal. When you add a serving of nut butter, chia seeds & a handful of berries, it becomes a balanced meal. You also want to be sure to consume enough high fibre foods. Women should aim for 25 grams of fibre per day, while men should target 38 grams. Some of my favourite high fibre foods that I include in my diet are chia & flax seeds, black beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, avocados, raspberries & oatmeal.
12) STOP STARVING YOURSELF! Food is fuel. Food is fuel. Food is fuel! One of my clients' biggest mistakes when they first attempt to lose weight is cutting their calories dramatically. Your body requires a minimum number of calories to exist. You cannot cut your caloric intake lower than this amount. The 800-1000 calorie per day diets are dangerous! Your body cannot survive on such few calories, so it slows down your basic metabolic needs. It will store most of the food you consume as fat in preparation for when hunger comes. This information is not new, yet many people still insist on starving themselves in hopes to attain that "perfect body."
NUTRITION TIPS CONTINUED More often than not, and restaurant food is high in sodium & portion sizes are out of control. The temptation is also higher when dining out & that greasy cheeseburger is hard to say "no" to. If you need that burger, swap the fries for a side salad. If you need those fries, remove the bun from the burger. I promise you; you won't starve if you don't order appetizers & dessert! Another good little tip is to box up half of your meal as soon as it's served & save it for later. When you eat at home, you are more likely to control the quality & quantity of the ingredients. I love cooking my meals because I can eat more food & feel guilt-free. Not to mention, I save a ton of money! And now you have access to all my favourite healthy recipes to make dining in easier & tastier!