Nutrition is endless. Facts are pouring out of every corner, and information being tossed left and right. The hardest part about nutrition can be a combination of two things…. 1) getting started and 2) knowing what to do. With information so readily available about pretty much everything, deciphering fact from fiction can be very hard when you’re first starting. With all of the fad diets out there, all seem to make a compelling argument of why they are the best, and it can be hard to try and figure out what should be implemented, or what should be ignored. We’re here to give you a few facts to help make your nutrition process a little easier.
- Talk to an expert
This may seem like a pretty obvious one, but more often than not, people try to figure things out on their own. If you’re unsure about something, get help! By getting help right from the beginning, you will increase your chances of reaching your goals, vs trying to do things on your own, not seeing results and then quitting. That being said, make sure the expert that you’re speaking to is qualified to speak to you about your nutrition needs. A certification through The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Precision Nutrition, or similar are all good qualifications to have. If your personal trainer is not a nutrition specialist, they can only give you basic advice, they can’t go in-depth about topics.
2. Make it Simple
Nutrition doesn’t have to be a confusing equation that no one can understand. The majority of your foods should be “clean foods” which means they are real food in their natural state, (generally not foods in a box, can or bag). Think about the foods you’ve consumed in the past week? Is it full of high calorie, high fat, processed junk food, or mostly filled with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nutrient dense carbohydrates? You are what you consume, so treat your body right! Start simple, download this “clean shopping list” and head to the store. Pick out a protein, starch and a veggie, saute with a little olive and you have yourself a clean meal!
The one thing that you must understand, is that you can put endless hours in the gym, but it will always be 80% about what you eat and 20% how you workout. Start simple, and then add spice it up by adding new recipes of different foods and flavor combinations! Just make sure that each meal has a portion of protein, starch, vegetable and a healthy fat source!
Keep your meal prep simple and convenient. If you try to overcomplicate it and say you’ll make yourself 10 different recipes per week, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Instead, look up a few easy slow cooker recipes that will provide lunches for multiple days/meals. You can also buy pre-cut veggies and starches to save time. Just throw them on a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven!
3. Pre-pack your meals and snacks
Let’s say you wake up later than usual for work and you’re in a rush, but you have no time to prepare your lunch so you say to yourself “I’ll just grab lunch out”. Grabbing lunch out can sometimes lead to poor decision making and cause a roadblock in your nutrition progress. If you take the time the night before to prepare your meals and snacks, portion them correctly and have it ready to go in a cooler lunch bag, the bad decision making can be avoided and the health can stay on track!
Need some ideas for easy and healthy snacks? Download a list of “clean snacks” here.
If you do find yourself stuck out and not prepared, have a handy list of places you can eat out where you can find healthy options. Try to limit eating out to a couple of times per week because most dishes in restaurants will have lots of excess oils and sauces.
Some of our favorite spots to dine out are:
- Chipotle – Just skip the tortilla, sour cream and cheese!
- Whole foods – Lots of healthy options from the salad bar to the hot bar!
- Protein House
- Flower Child
- True Food Kitchen
4. Drink that H20
Drinking water is mandatory for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You should be drinking at least 8 glasses, which is about 2 liters a day. Drinking enough water daily helps boost your metabolism and can help improve kidney and liver function. Staying on track with your water intake is key to balanced nutrition and health. If you are a coffee drinker, or are drinking alcohol, make sure to add an extra glass of water for each of those beverages consumed.
Also, remember not to drink your calories! Things like soda, coffee creamer, and energy drinks are filled with sugar, fat and chemicals, and aren’t doing you any favors in reaching your goals. Stick with good ole’ water, iced tea or hot tea whenever possible.
5. Know your calorie needs
Daily calorie needs depend on an individual’s age, activity level and goals. In simplest terms, if you consume more calories than you need, you’ll gain weight. If you consume less than you need, you’ll put yourself into a calorie deficit and you’ll lose weight.
Eating clean, wholesome foods is the first step towards a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Getting familiar with things like calories and macronutrients will help you to really have a great understanding of nutrition, and what your body needs to look and feel your best.
There are online calculators that you can use to calculate your approximate calorie needs. These should be used ONLY as a guideline, and will not be as accurate as getting help from a professional, but it can get you started! Drop us a line any time and we’re happy to help too!
6. Use a vegetable substitute and portion control
If you’re obsessed with pasta and can’t get enough try switching it out for zucchini noodles! It may not taste just like pasta, but it is a delicious healthy alternative to something you enjoy. Instead of feeding yourself bland meals with no substance, try and incorporate something that can still fuel your taste buds, but keep your health happy as well. Portion control is HUGE, we must always remember “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs”. Keeping your portions under control plays a huge role in the nutrition process. Here are some guidelines for portions in men and women:
Keeping these simple tips in mind when trying to understand the world of nutrition can help give you a great foundation to get started. TriFITwellness offers holistic nutrition coaching and meal prepping service that delivers on-site! Take the time to put your health first. Contact us today to get started.