In the Western World it's hard to know what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it. Things were much more simple for our caveman ancestor when only whole, natural, unprocessed foods were available. Not only that, but cavemen had to work really hard to get food by hunting and gathering. Now, we don't even have to move from our car seat to grab dinner. This pattern of easy access to low-quality foods has created devastating effects on the human body. Do you think that cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack were as prevalent in ancient cultures? Certainly not.
While diet is a very individualized process based on body type, energy requirements, food tolerances, and lifestyle, I can offer you five simple tips to help you make better choices each day. Small positive dietary changes can have a major impact and lead to ultimately what most people in modern society seek: fat loss and better health. The following are 5 habits recommended by Precision Nutrition that anyone can follow with a little bit of planning and commitment:
1) Eat small meals every 2-4 hours. This will prevent snacking on empty calories since you are eating often. Eating in regular intervals will keep your blood sugar balanced so you are less likely to binge and make poor food selections. It also stimulates metabolism and helps your body maintain lean mass while burning off fat. A great example of what a meal could look like is a grilled chicken breast, a cup of raw spinach with olive oil and vinegar, and an apple. Remember, you have the choice to make your body better or worse with every meal.
2) Eat complete, lean protein with each meal. Research shows that a protein-rich diet helps you achieve your best health, body composition, and performance. Protein will keep you satiated longer, which means you're less likely to consume empty calories. A serving of protein is the size of your palm for women or the size of two palms for men.
3) Eat Vegetables with each meal. Vegetables and fruits are essential for physiological functioning, and they should be eaten in their natural form (ie: not covered in sugary syrups or cooked in meat fats so much that the color no longer is true to its original form.) Shoot for 2 servings with each meal. A serving can be a medium sized piece of fruit, 1/2 cup of raw chopped fruit or veggies, or 1 cup of raw leafy green vegetables.
4) For fat loss, eat "other carbohydrates" only after exercise. In other words, if you want carbs beyond fruits and veggies, you have to earn them. Any breads, potatoes, pasta, rice, or occasional junk foods and desserts should be eaten within 1-2 hours after your workout when the body can best tolerate them. High-quality whole grains should still be prioritized. Make sure your workout is intense!
5) Eat healthy fats daily. Fat was given an ugly name in the 1980s and 1990s, but in actuality, your diet should consist of 30% healthy fat. This can include olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds and oil, nuts and nut butters, avocado, meats, low-fat cheeses, dairy, and eggs.
By following these five habits, you will automatically make healthier food choices without the overwhelming task of counting calories or weighing food. This is solid nutritional advice in its simplest form.
I also wanted to share a recipe with you that has been a wonderful savior to me. I have a killer sweet tooth. I like sweet things for breakfast and after every meal. Unfortunately, as I've previously discussed on my blog, sugar is deadly. Literally.
This Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake is healthy, filling, and a well-balanced meal! I have it for breakfast most days of the week, and it tastes just like a milkshake!
This shake has protein, a serving of fruit, and healthy fats! Take it to the next level by following it up with a glass of greens supplement (more to come on this).
1 Frozen Banana (break into 2-3 pieces before freezing)
1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon All-Natural Peanut Butter
1 Scoop Unflavored Protein Powder
1/2 c-1c Milk (for a thicker ice cream to eat with spoon, use less milk. For a milkshake consistency, use more.)
Throw it all in a blender! Sometimes I also add chia and/or raw cacao nibs for some fiber.
Over the next few weeks, I will be putting together a program where I will offer online nutrition consultations and coaching. Goal setting, nutritional principles, eating for your body type, grocery shopping, and lifestyle coaching will all be included. I will let everyone know when this is officially available.
Please don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question, or you can even shoot me an email!