Nutrition can be SO over complicated.
With a new fad diet popping up every day, claiming that THIS is the one that will get you the results you’re dreaming of, I think we can all agree, we just want something that WORKS!
We always warn against any style of eating that claims to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach, because we are each so unique, our bodies respond to foods in different ways, but there are still some basic guidelines that the majority of people can follow in order to see positive change. If you aren’t already doing what we’re about to mention below, then doing these things FIRST, are a huge step in the right direction! Once you have these habits down pat, then you are ready to advance in your nutrition habits!
Remember, simplify first, master that, then you can play around with new foods, timing, portions, etc! If you aren’t eating veggies at each meal then you probably aren’t ready to dive head first into Keto, fasting, Vegan, etc! Attempting something MORE restricting and more complicated than clean, balanced eating, is a means to an end and even if it does work temporarily, it isn’t instilling the habits you need to keep your results long term!
Going by the basics may not seem exciting but it’s effective and will not only create results but will create a healthier relationship with food than yo-yo-ing! Have you ever started a new diet, stuck with it for a while, then realized it was too strict, too hard, or life got in the way and you gave up? What happens then? Most likely you felt a level of defeat, discouragement and failure which is absolutely normal, even if you feel that way on a small scale, not succeeding as something over and over, gives our mindset and confidence in ourselves a real beating! The best method is to start with small change and allow yourself to win at that over and over, then add another small change when you feel ready. Pretty soon those changes all add up to one big, fat lifestyle change and you’re a nutrition guru yourself!!
Eat 3 Meals A Day
Some of you may not love eating 3 meals a day, others of you may like eating 5 smaller meals a day but the general rule of 3 meals a day can help to keep you satisfied, get you in a routine of making the time to eat & keep energy steady throughout the day . This will also keep hunger levels in check & ensure you aren’t getting to that “hangry” point, which can lead to binging or grabbing whatever is closest! Unless you have a really upside down schedule, do your best to carve out 3 main meal times & make enough time to be able to sit down & enjoy that delicious food! Which leads to my next point…
Make Time to Eat & Eat Slowly
Schedule in your meal times like you would schedule in anything else into your day. If changing your nutrition habits is important to you, you will make the time! Once you have that time blocked, when it comes to actually eating your food, TAKE. YOUR. TIME. Chew every bite and eat slowly. Think chewing 20-30x every bite. This will not only help your food to digest better because you are breaking down your food before you swallow but it’s giving your brain time to signal to the rest of your body if you are satisfied/full yet or not! Life is so fast paced, it can be easy to inhale our food and we don’t realize we are stuffed to the brim until we’ve already over eaten! Digesting food is way harder when our food is half chewed and it’s proven that the slower we eat the LESS palatable low quality foods are and the MORE palatable high quality foods are! So it actually makes us want to eat healthier!
Eat 1-2 Fistfuls of Veggies at Every Meal
This might sound daunting, especially if you aren’t much of a veggie lover and if you are no where near this yet, try with 1-2 fistfuls a day and slowly work your way up. Again, if you are serious about making changes in your eating habits, your body needs micronutrients & whole, unprocessed foods. Vegetables are the place to start! They are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but they are filling as well. If you are eating your veggies (along with other parts of your meal i’m about to mention below), then your hunger should be under control and you’re less likely to crave or reach for other unnecessary foods!
Eat a Main Protein Source at Every Meal
Think poultry, seafood, beef, pork, eggs. Use your palm as a guide, if you are a man eat 2 palmfuls of protein and if you’re a woman eat 1 palmful. This is a general rule of thumb and a good place to start if you are just starting out! Think fresh, lean protein and prepared in a healthy way like grilled, baked or sautéed in light oil.
Eat Healthy Fats At Every Meal
A starting guide would be 1 thumb for women and 2 for men. Foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, cooking oils, dressing, cheese are all examples. If you follow the portion guide, it will ensure you aren’t going overboard!
Add in Starchy Carbs
These will vary person to person but as a general rule, women eat one cupped handful and men 2 at each meal. These include foods such as rice, potato, quinoa, lentils, oats, etc. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it can be a good idea to keep these to your post workout meal only.
Eat Until 80% Full
This rule is KEY and following the rule of eating slowly will allow your brain to signal your body when you have reached this point. Eating until you’re 80% full helps to control your portions, so even if you follow the rules above, eat slowly and until you are 80% full, you can save that food for a little later! You should feel satisfied but not stuffed! Even if you are indulging in a meal out or a treat, using this habit will help keep portions under control!
Drink 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces. This should leave little room for other liquids! If you are drinking at least this much water, it will help keep you full, avoid mistaking thirst for hunger and keep digestion healthy! Drink up!
If you follow these simple steps, we guarantee you will be on your way to creating healthier nutrition habits!
Disclaimer: Every person requires a different amount of calories and balance of calories depending on their age, height, weight, lifestyle and activity level. These recommendations are the bare bones of a solid start to eating better. Once you feel you have established these habits, it’s time to dig deeper and tailor your nutrition even more so to YOU!
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Refer to our guide below of veggies, proteins, smart carbs and healthy fats as an easy guide to help you build your meals!