I think the best nutrition plan to minimize ingesting processed food is one that is planned. I hear it all the time, “I don’t have time to prepare and cook my food.” Everyone has 24 hours in the day and everyone has priorities. For those that say they want better nutrition habits, the first step is planning. Athletes prioritize time to train so meal planning HAS TO BECOME A PRIORITY, if you want to make nutrition a healthy lifestyle.
I always have my standard “essential food list”, various fruits, veggies and other plant based foods. The meals I plan determine the “other ingredients” I will need. I go grocery shopping every 3 days. When I am planning my meals I am mindful that they are composed on the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat. Together they make up all the calories, or food energy, in the food you eat.
Protein: While most people think of protein in animal products – like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs – there are also a number of plant-based protein sources that you can choose from.
Protein is a key component to building lean muscle and transforming your body. Eating more protein won’t suddenly make your muscles huge. Building lean muscle through a progressive strength training program and eating enough of the right foods will. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the body’s building blocks for a number of functions, including increasing muscle mass. Best to have your daily nutrition tracked and analyzed to be sure how much protein you need. The USDA guidelines recommend 40-60 grams / day and I believe most people eat too much and dont know it. More info on function and benefits and of protein here.
Carbohydrate: While most people think of breads, pastas and cereals as carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates too. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient which seems to be getting a bad reputation. Despite what many people would have you believe, you should not “fear” eating carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates constitute all sugars, including single-molecule simple sugars and double compound sugars. When three or more sugar molecules are strung together, they form complex carbohydrates in foods like grains, fruits and vegetables.
The majority of your carbohydrates should come from these complex carbs (grains and veggies) because they take a little longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer, and don’t raise blood sugar as quickly as simple sugars (candy and other processed carbohydrates). Complex carbs pack a whole lot of nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain many micro nutrients – vitamins and minerals that your body needs to carry out important cellular functions and keep you healthy and strong. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of phytochemicals, which can help bolster our immune system, enhance our metabolic response, and have been extensively researched for their ability to help prevent disease. Additionally, the fiber you get from these plant foods is essential for a healthy digestive system and the health of your gut. Eating fiber rich foods increases our feeling of fullness, lowers blood fat and cholesterol, reduces the risk of colon cancer, increases proper intestinal movement, and boosts overall gut health.. Both simple and complex carbs have a place in your diet, but long-term success in managing blood sugar levels, satiety and weight control, can depend on limiting your intake of simple sugars. I like to focus on fruits and veggies or for the majority of my carbohydrate intake, because they are slower-digesting, higher-fiber, and nutrient-rich. I also eat “starchy” carobs like whole grains, beans and legumes which are higher in calories after my training sessions. Read more about carbohydrates function and benefits here
Fat: Fats are integral to maintaining optimal health. There are 3 types of fats you may have heard of: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Most animal protein-dense foods contain a lot of saturated fat. The two other types of fats you’ll want to add to your diet are the monounsaturated (mixed nuts, olives, and olive oil) and polyunsaturated (flax seed oil, fish oil, and also mixed nuts). Essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-6 and omega-3s help keep you feeling full, cushion vital organs, assist with absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, maintain proper brain cognition and development, and are responsible for a slew other benefits.
The only fat you should avoid is trans fat, which the food industry adds to food to extend shelf life. Check food labels for any form of “hydrogenated oils;” this immediately marks a food product as something you shouldn’t eat. Keep dietary fats in; throw trans fats out!
Fat does not make you fat. The notion that ingested fat quickly buries itself into your tissues has long been debunked. Gaining weight is normally attributed to eating too many calories, more than what your body knows to do with. Read more about the function and benefits of here
Below is a list of my essentials. Since I go every three days I just purchase what I need.
|Fat Rich Foods||Protein Rich Foods|
|Olive Oil||Hemp/Rice/Pea Protein Powder|
|Pumpkin Seed Oil||Beans|
|Chia oil||Nut butters (also rich in fats)|
|Hummus (Protein and fats)||Quinoa (Also a grain)|
|Starchy Carbohydrate||Vegetable Carbs||Fruits Carbs|
|Whole Grain bread||Asparagus||Apricots|
|Whole Grain Pasta||Bok Choy||Berries|
|Rice (Brown And Jasmine)||Broccoli||Cherries|
|Sweet Potato||Brussel Sprouts||Dried Fruit|
|Whole Grains (Other)||Cabbage||Figs|
5 Tips when grocery shopping and planning
- Shop the perimeter not the isles for fresh and wholesome nutrient dense foods
- Awareness and label reading, knowing the ingredients in the food you eat and how much added sugars, sodium, or fats you maybe consuming. Many foods claim to be healthy but most often the fat-free or low-fat foods are just junk with ADDED sugars or salts.
- Consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and get rid of anything that comes in a box, processed foods/unhealthy snacks is key.
- Cooking your own meals will allow you to know the ingredients in your food
- I usually look to see what I need to use before it goes bad and google recipes I like and are plant based. Then get the ingredients I need.
Other Helpful Tips for healthy nutrition for life
- Portion Control Depending on what your nutrition goals are if you are trying to lose or gain weight portion control as well as what you eat, is an important component of your healthy lifestyle nutrition. Keep a food log and find out your baseline caloric needs. To lose weight cut out 250 calories / day and add 250 caloric experience per day for a 500 calorie deficit, 3500 calories / week deficit and you will loss a pound. If you are trying to gain weight, add an additional 500 calories to your baseline to make a 3500 calorie additional to gain a pound a week.
- Mindful eating: Slow Down. When you slow down when eating, you will likely see a difference in the foods you choose and how much you eat. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to recognize that it’s time to stop eating, so slowing down will help you keep in touch with what your body really needs.
- Hydrate with water though the day. It is a tough habit for many of us (including me!). Yet I notice the difference in my energy level when I drink water all day long
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