Despite state efforts to launch the Healthy Eating Strategy in 2016, surveys in 2019 found that the average Canadian still isn’t eating a diet that promotes optimal health.
Understandably, it’s easy to develop unhealthy eating patterns when you lack time, knowledge, or access to healthy food. That’s why we’ve put together five smart tips for eating healthy and making nutritious food the norm in your everyday life. Healthier eating can increase the quality of your life, and give your body the nutritional foundation for activities like bodybuilding and anabolic exercise.
Eat according to your goals
Establishing your body and fitness goals is key in building your diet. This allows for mindful eating, where you eat with purpose. Not being mindful of what you eat tends to lead to overeating, diabetes, or obesity when left unchecked.
Some may eat with the goal of losing weight, and others for gaining muscle. In the case of the latter, centring your meals around an anabolic diet may help. This is great for bodybuilders and many others aiming to gain muscle mass, who can productively include meal time in their training regimen by alternating low-carb and high-carb days.
Opt for personalized diets
Everyone has different bodies, lifestyles, and preferences. That’s why personalized nutrition and diet plans are often the healthiest and most efficient way to achieve your fitness goals. Personalized plans carefully consider your medical history and budget, which makes it much easier to follow a diet consistently.
Some personalized diets make dieting fun by including your favorite foods. However, crafting your own diet plan can be a little tricky to do on your own, so it’s best to enlist the services of dieticians. These dieticians are experts in the field, so they’ll understand the best nutrition options that’ll work for you.
Be smart about your protein intake
Like other nutrients, protein is absorbed by our bodies at different rates. Hence, simply consuming protein for muscle gain isn’t a “one-size-fits-all”. It’s important to remember that factors like activity level can affect how much protein can be utilized at one time.
As we’ve previously discussed, high protein diets must be planned around your workouts because the threshold of how much protein you can consume before seeing diminishing gains is much higher outside of the post-workout window. This means reducing your protein amount after your workout to 20 grams. Otherwise, any excess may be stored as fat, instead of muscle.
Prioritise nutrients instead of calories
Nutrients are what your body needs to thrive, and while all foods contain calories, not all foods are nutrient-dense. Many foods marketed as “diet-friendly” or “low calorie” may lack nutrients. An example is egg whites, which provide 1% or less of the DV for iron, phosphorus, and other nutrients.
Lifting and doing strength training programs without adequate nutrition in your body can lead to loss of muscle tissue and fatigue. That is because the short-term energy deficits impair the anabolic hormones in the body, which affects muscle protein synthesis.
Think in threes: protein, fat, fibre-rich carbs
When in doubt, stick to the basics. Stick to lean protein like chicken or fish, or even plant-based ones like tofu. For fats, be careful and opt for healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and cheese instead of butter.
Last is fibre-rich carbs. This includes starchy options like sweet potatoes or oats, and low carb fibre sources like asparagus and broccoli. Keeping every meal simple with these three principles helps you avoid ultra-processed foods, and considers time restrictions while staying healthy.
Remember that eating healthy is a journey, thus progress — and not perfection — is key. By remembering these simple tips, eating smarter to achieve your health and fitness goals will be much easier.