Regularly eating the right foods is often a large part of any exercise routine. Outside the gym is when body changes actually happen: through proper nutrition and sufficient rest. Eating healthy foods isn’t just about serious dieting, avoiding your favorite treats or becoming model-thin. Proper nutrition is a way of life that allows you to be as mentally and physically healthy as possible. There is no one ideal nutrition plan for everyone, but choosing a healthy eating plan that works for you will offer you some major benefits.
Increase Water Intake
Sometimes, thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger pangs by your brain. So, to gauge whether you are really hungry or not, try drinking a glass of water before eating anything.
Cook your own Meals
The best way to determine if the meal you are eating is healthy for you is by making it yourself. That way, you get to experiment with what you like and what you don’t. You also get to try out low calorie alternatives of your favorite dishes. Cooking at home also helps you control your portions.
Reduce Intake of Simple Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a staple in the diet of many. In fact, of all the food groups, the amount of carbs consumed is the highest. Fortunately, it is easy to separate the good (Complex Carbohydrates) from the bad (Simple Carbohydrates). Simple,or Refined Carbs, lack essential nutrients, are often highly processed, offer ‘empty calories’, and should be limited. It is recommended to you fill your plate with Complex carbohydrates, or whole carbs. These type of carbs are unprocessed or minimally processed, offer a host of important nutrients, and don’t cause major spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.
Increase Protein Intake
Protein is a muscle builder than can effectively reduce the fat in our body. It can also convert the loose fat into muscles. To lose fat, build muscle, and improve the way your body performs, aim to consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. focus on eating lean high quality proteins, such as boneless, skinless chicken breast, ground turkey or bison, white fish, egg whites, and low or no-fat Greek yogurt.
Increase Fiber Intake
The best way to reduce calorie intake is by incorporating more fiber into your diet. The recommended amount is about 30 grams a day, but most people don’t consume enough fiber. There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and transforms into a gel during digestion. Insoluble fiber remains undigested as it passes through your system. Both types of fiber slow down the process of digestion, and help you feel fuller for longer. Good sources of fiber include nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Choose Better Snacks
Three meals a day can leave you feeling hungry in between. And that’s where most of us slip up. Even if we try eating meals that are healthy, we end up binging on snacks that are anything but. And this has a huge impact on our weight, so we should opt for better snack options.. Fries and chips and cookies do nothing to fill us up, but add a lot of carbs, sugar, and fat. It is also difficult to stop at one or two because we still feel so hungry. So opt for snacks that have a high fiber content. A good rule of thumb is try to stay away from processed snacks that come in a box or package. Choose veggies, fruit, nuts or natural nut butters instead.
Eat Healthier Fats
There is this prevalent misconception that fats are bad for you. That isn’t entirely true. There are healthy fats and there are unhealthy ones. Most junk foods contain unhealthy or saturated fats. They are the ones responsible for an array of diseases. But unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, olive oil, and nuts, can help lower cholesterol and the risk for heart diseases when consumed in moderation.
Eat Smaller Portions and slow down
The idea behind smaller portions comes from the fact that it takes your brain about 20 minutes to process what you eat. So, you may not even realize that your stomach is full and end up overeating. It’s a good strategy to take time chewing your food and to take breaks between servings to actually gauge whether you are still hungry . Plus, when you see more food on your plate, you tend to eat more. So it makes sense to serve yourself smaller portions. An easy trick to help keep portions under control is to eat on smaller plates. This way, you know you’re not overeating. And it can help you lose weight, without giving up your favorite foods.
Never Skip Your Meals
When you skip a meal thinking that you might lose weight, you actually gain weight. This is because the hunger stays in your body and the next time you consume food, you end up consuming twice the quantity.
Consume Fruits with Higher Water Content and Less Calories
Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, and papaya have very few calories. Consuming these fruits will fill you up and leave you well-suited for weight loss.
Cut out Empty Calories
It is easy to lose track of everything you eat. Some of us even eat without registering it. We tend to consume a lot of things that are high in calories, but don’t even count as food. Carbonated drinks, coffee, and chips are some examples. So it is important to register what you are eating, and keep track. You can cut back on a lot of calories just by avoiding foods that don’t fill you up.
Need some help?
Below are options for meal plans and diet programs available that can be beneficial to helping you begin a new routine:
Ways of eating:
Mayo Clinic Diet
Biggest Loser Diet
Flat Belly Diet
South Beach Diet
Diet-To-Go (available in select Total Woman clubs)
Fresh and Fit Meals
Plan to Eat
Having trouble sticking to a nutrition plan? Use social media or even the comments section below to hold yourself accountable and get some much-needed support from your friends, family, and teammates.