Starting out into the fitness lifestyle can often be very intimidating with all the new information that is thrown at you. To a seasoned bodybuilder or someone simply working out on a regular basis for health, the concept of nutrition is second nature. However, for someone just starting; there are definitely concepts that can scare a person away from a healthy diet.
The following article will explain in simple terms how to choose the rights foods for every situation that will make it easy for you to incorporate healthy eating into your daily life.
A Healthy Diet
Firstly, it is important to state that a healthy "diet" is not an end to all good foods and having fun. It is simply a structured eating plan to give you optimal energy throughout the day while achieving the physique that you desire.
To make the right food choices, it is important to understand the science behind the food we put in our bodies, but for someone just starting off these concepts can be overwhelming. When a "diet" becomes too difficult to incorporate into daily life then people give up and go back to "Square One."
The simplest way to incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle is to understand what to buy in the supermarket that provides the optimal amount of nutrients for your body. Once you get a hang of eating these foods, then you can get into more specifics allowing you to gradually make changes as necessary.
Let's take a look at what foods are good for your body and why. Foods are classified into Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates, so naturally that's how you will purchase your foods. The following lists are foods that should be considered when starting a healthy diet.
- Chicken Breasts
- Fish (Salmon, Trout)
- Extra Lean Ground Beef
- Lean Cuts of Beef
- Cottage Cheese
- Protein Powder
- Eggs/Egg Whites
- Skim Milk
That list of protein is simply a short and simple one. There are other options of course; but these are simple and available in almost every grocery store. All these proteins are LEAN (therefore very minimal amounts of fat).
You should have a variety of these foods in your diet simply because each one provides different amounts of certain vitamins and minerals (vitamin B's, zinc etc). It is a good idea to include fish at least once or twice during the week as there are healthy fats in there that are not attainable in other foods.
- String Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
The long list of carbohydrates is essential to a successful diet. The complex carbs are needed for consistent energy throughout the working day. It is ideal to include them at the beginning of your day to help "ignite" your system from the sleep before hand and before and after hard working tasks (labor, working out etc).
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Vegetables should be included at almost every meal as they include both fiber (which is needed for staying full, slowing down and promoting digestion) and getting vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Fruit should be consumed in the same way complex carbs are, whenever the body needs energy.
The vitamins contained inside are optimal for body functions especially before and after a strenuous task. Ideally fruit can be used when the body feels sluggish and quick bursts of energy are needed.
Fats are essential for everyday body functions. The biggest mistake first time dieters make is thinking that fats are "bad." They think that fat will simply make them fat.
While it is true that eating a large amount can effect your weight, eating an appropriate amount will only help your results. It is an absolute must to stay clear of anything breaded, fried or related due to added "trans-fat" which in short will only clog your arteries and halt any progress that you can make.
Mono saturated and unsaturated fats that will both support the heart function as well as help the body absorb all the vitamins and minerals that are coming from other food sources. Fats will also slow down the digestion of food, therefore giving constant nutrient flow to your body and keeping you fuller for a longer period of time.
| Monosaturated And Unsaturated Fats
Monosaturated fats have one point where the hydrogens are missing and so they have one point of unsaturation. Unsaturated fats have one or more double bounds between carbon atoms, which reduce the number of hydrogen atoms attached to the fatty acid carbon chain.
Preparation & Seasoning:
- Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce (Sparingly)
- Herbs (Fresh is best)
- Mrs. Dash
- Sugar Free Maple Syrup
- Extracts (vanilla, coconut)
- Low Sodium beef/chicken broth
- Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce (Sparingly)
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Fat-Free Mayonnaise (Sparingly)
- Fat-Free Sour Cream (Sparingly)
That is just a short list of items that you should consider the next time you venture off to the supermarket. However these food cans easily get boring without the proper preparation and seasonings.
Sodium intake should be kept to a minimum and therefore salt should never be added directly to items. Along with that, you should keep an eye open for foods that are flavored (these items will often contain extra amounts of sodium).
Everyday Diet Seasonings:
While it is usually better to simply eliminate all seasonings and additives to foods, it goes without saying that the human mind is only so strong and will get bored of the food it registers/'consumes' very quickly.
When starting off, a diet should be simple, nothing to drastic or complicated in terms of macronutrients. A meal should simply include some protein, a small sized serving of carbohydrates (depending on needs), some veggies and some fat as needed. An example of a typical meal would be:
- One Chicken Breast
- Small Sweet Potato
- A small handful of almonds/tablespoon of peanut butter
- Fillet of fish (Salmon/Trout)
- Small serving of rice
Those are typical healthy meals that can be changed accordingly using the lists above. While it is optimal to eat around 6 meals a day, it can be fairly difficult at first to get used to eating that often (as the typical person will eat 3 "square" meals a day). So it would be a smart idea to work up to that number. Start at 4 meals for a week, and then go up to 5 meals for another week or until you start to feel hungry more often and then jump to 6.
Meal Frequency Articles:
One important addition to a healthy diet is simply adding A LOT more fluids, more specifically water. A typical person will drink a couple small bottles of water a day. However if opting for the best possible body that you can achieve, then you will need to up that water intake to around a gallon. That's about 7-8 small water bottles and this intake is essential to adequate energy and proper excretion of harmful bacteria in the body.
A healthy diet does not mean that you can't enjoy life and go out with friends and family to restaurants. The only trick here is you have to be smart about your food and drink choices. There are many things that should be avoided when ordering from a menu. Anything fried, battered, crusted, dipped, creamy should be avoided. These foods typically have a much higher caloric value, and not as hearty healthy.
The best options are anything grilled, blanched, steamed, and boiled. These foods will not have unwanted and unknown additives and therefore you usually will know what you are getting on your plate. There are simple rules to follow, such as when ordering a salad ask for the dressing on the side, if there is a sauce on the dish, then ask for it to be on the side, used very sparingly or simply eliminated from the dish. If there are fries or pasta, get it switched up for some steamed veggies. If you simply use good judgment than you can have a great time at any restaurant!
Beverages should be limited to water. However, a glass of red wine due to antioxidants or a diet pop will not hurt ones progress.
On The Go:
The hardest thing for anyone just starting off or simply with a busy schedule is eating 'on the go'. While it is fairly simple to eat and make the foods above at home, it can get difficult carrying around pots and pans and making things as you go.
Instead the best idea is to plan out a few meals at the end of each day and get them ready before going to
sleep. Get a few solid, leak proof containers to store your food in. Prepare meals that will suit your environment, for an example if you do no have a fridge readily available, then you wouldn't take something that would spoil in a higher temperature. Pack lots of cut up veggies and whole fruit for
snacks or in case of hunger strikes. Make sure to always, always have a bottle of water with you and drink it regularly.
Although the preceding article was simple and did not include more specific on macronutrients and bodily functions, it is a means of serving as a beginning, a start to a new body. If you really want to get the physique that you desire and really want to start feeling better about yourself, then it is YOU and only you that has to make this step.