When it comes to advice pertaining to nutrition, it tends to be a veritable maze that you end up needing the combined help of a search engine and an online encyclopaedia to navigate, regardless of the source. Instead of focusing on deciphering jargon, you can achieve greater results by taking a simple, practical and effective approach to nutrition.
Aim for longevity
Looking to create your perfect summer body or to fit into an outfit for your sister’s wedding isn’t out of the ordinary, but if it threatens to damage your long-term health, it isn’t worth it. Instead, make sure your nutrition plan values internal health over external aesthetics and recognises the role each macronutrient and various micronutrients play in supporting your optimal physique.
Eat with purpose
Mindless eating, or grazing, is the reason why many people unknowingly put on weight over the years. Rather than make this common mistake, choose to eat foods that both improve your internal health as well as support your external (aesthetic) goals. Focus on foods that help repair and build lean muscle, and support fat adaptation while providing you with the energy you need to keep up with your lifestyle.
Have default meal options
Keeping track of your nutrition may be a tall order, especially if you’re already busy with work and family, but creating default meal options helps you to put your nutrition on autopilot without worrying about crashing. Come up with a template for the meal (for example: rice, one serving of protein, two servings of vegetables) and tweak the serving sizes accordingly.
Rather than binge on unhealthy foods and being wracked with guilt afterwards, plan and schedule cheat meals where you can enjoy your favourites (in moderation of course) instead. This helps make your diet more sustainable and enjoyable, and lets you make long-term lifestyle changes more easily so you don’t get stuck in a cycle of crash-dieting. If you’re moderately active and in fairly decent shape, you can look at having a cheat meal once a week.
Eat foods you actually enjoy
Unless you’re extremely self-disciplined, following a diet down to the letter is not an easy task. Instead of forcing yourself to eat certain foods because of their nutritional content, substitute them for foods you enjoy that contain similar nutrients, and don’t be afraid to be flexible. If for some reason you don’t enjoy the taste of wild rice, try going for quinoa instead!
When you begin following a new meal plan, it’s easy to forget that nutrition is a marathon and not a sprint. By simplifying your nutrition, you can make your dietary changes more gradual and more sustainable, so that you can work towards greater health and wellness that will keep on going in the years to come!