When it comes to healthy eating, there is so much information out there that it becomes confusing. We are often left wondering what is right, what is wrong, and what will suit us and our lifestyle best.
If you think of your body like a car, the major point is that you need to fuel it with nutritious whole foods that will get you through each day feeling full of energy, maintaining a healthy weight, feeling mentally alert, and physically at your best.
Today, I will give you a few main tips to ensure you are on the way to reaching your health and fitness goals and feeling great.
Following the points below will have your body well fuelled so that you get from a to b successfully – from rising and having breakfast to the last meal of your day at dinner, and then bed when you turn your engine off until you repeat and go again the next day, each and every day.
Eat 5-6 small meals per day – A balanced intake of food every 2 – 3 hours will see you consuming breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and a small snack after dinner depending on the amount of hours you are awake each day. These 5-6 small meals will allow you to maintain energy from morning to night. If you were to consume a small breakfast for example, have no morning tea, and a late lunch, 6 plus hours from your breakfast time, then your energy levels will be low, and you will feel mentally fatigued, unalert and very likely to struggle through the afternoon.
At each meal combine a portion of vegetables/salad, carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of healthy fats. 40% protein, 50% vegetables/carbs, 10% fats.
Protein- All meats, tofu, yoghurt, cheese, protein powders, legumes, tempeh, eggs, milk, protein bars, fish, prawns, calamari
Carbohydrates- vegetables, salad, and fruits should be the primary portions of main meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner), add a small amount of complex carbohydrates- pasta, brown rice, grainy and wholemeal breads, cereals, oats, grains, cous cous, quinoa, sweet potato.
Fats- nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil.
A balance of the above foods at each meal when combined with eating every 3 hours, ensures blood sugar levels remain at a steady level. This reduces hunger, and the urge to eat unhealthy or overeat. It is this specific and important combination that will see you through the day without having any mood swings, excessively low or high energy levels that cause you to crash. It will allow you to stay mentally focused, happy, energetic and on top of your game no matter you are doing each day!
For fat loss goals, wait 30min- hour post workout before your next meal/snack, and wait 2 hours after eating before you workout.
Building Muscle goals, consume a mix of carbohydrates/protein 1 hour pre and post training. High Gl carbs such as fruit, for example some banana eaten before and after will replace depleted stores and ensure you get the most out of your workout with plenty of energy to progress building strength and muscle.
Here are some great combinations for you to follow to get you started:
- Eggs, spinach, mushroom, tomato on toast
- Ricotta and berries on toast
- A protein smoothie with skim milk
- Yoghurt, berries and nuts (natural yoghurt no added sugar/greek yoghurt)
- Porridge with a side of yoghurt, and flaxseed meal, or LSA sprinkled on top
- Meat and salad sandwiches or wraps
- Meat and salads, with a small amount of rice/pasta/potato or legumes
- Stir Fry meat/tofu/vegies and some cous cous quinoa
- Quiche/Fritatta and salad
- Fruit and yoghurt
- Small coffee on skim and a piece of fruit
- Protein shake
- Crackers with cheese and tomato or other salads
- Fruit and 10-15 nuts
- Meat and Vegetables, small side of pasta, or rice
- Stir Fry with side of noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles, soba noodles
- 2 Tacos with minced pork/beef/turkey/chicken and lots of salad
- Vegetable and Tuna Bake with small amount of pasta mixed through
- Fish and Salad or other seafoods
These are just a few ideas, there are lots of healthy eating recipes out there. The main thing is to combine protein, carbs and fruit & vegetables that you enjoy! Add spices to mix it up and most of all eat and cook what you enjoy with plenty of variety from all of the food groups!