Did you know that 80% of your results when it comes to “staying fit” have to do with what you put in your mouth? That’s right, about 80%. So instead of worrying about putting more time into your workouts, try focusing on your nutrition and eat like a pro. Eating like a pro is actually quite simple. Eat more often, and build each meal around protein and produce.
Eat More Often
Aim to eat 5-6 smaller meals a day. I usually have 3 meals, with a morning and afternoon snack. It also helps to eat your carbohydrates earlier in the day because that is when our energy requirements are highest. Eating a big bowl of pasta at the end of the day when you are going to spend the next couple hours sitting on your butt watching t.v. means those extra carbs and calories get stored as fat. Yes those fat stores are reserved stores of energy, but its the carbohydrates our body will go to first. (your next days breakfast, lunch etc.)
Eating more frequently will also help to keep your blood sugar levels regulated and reset your metabolism. Eating more often will help to keep you more satisfied and ward off cravings. When the time in between snacks and meals is too long (4 hrs plus) you actually begin to crave more high fat, high-calorie foods.
So aim to eat every 2 1/2 -4 hours and be sure to include good sources of protein and fiber at each meal or snack.
Eating like a pro works because it helps to block hunger & crowd out less desirable foods.
Blocking hunger is important, especially when you’re really hungry since that is when you are more likely to reach for sugary, processed foods.
Did you know that some of the most filling foods include protein and fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate found in produce (fruits, veggies) and whole grains. Fiber gets digested slower than high processed foods which helps you to feel fuller longer. So you won’t be as tempted to grab for a handful of chips or fill up on BLT’s (bits, licks & tastes).
Protein takes longer to digest than other macronutrients, which means you will stay fuller longer. Some great sources of protein include yogurt, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and whey protein. If you’d like to learn more about choosing a protein powder, CLICK HERE.
Protein is also important for building and maintaining our lean muscle mass . And we all know that lean muscle burns more energy than fat even while you’re at rest.
This is partly why our metabolism slows down as we age- because we typically begin to lose lean body mass.
Fill Up On Produce
From a health standpoint, vegetables are an unbeatable food: naturally nutrient-rich; better tasting than a vitamin pill; low in calories; high in fiber and packed with disease-fighting phyto-nutrients.
All types of vegetables can be nourishing and delicious – fresh, frozen, canned and juiced.
When it comes to working out, getting a variety of produce is important because fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and help to reduce inflammation. And what happens when we work out? Our muscles our constantly repairing and rebuilding, which causes inflammation.
To maximize your health with vegetables, nutrition experts suggest at least 5-7 servings per day.
Here are a dozen daily ways to get in a variety of vegetables
- Asparagus: Saute in olive oil with garlic and a hit of lemon zest for a refreshing and seasonal dish. Roasted asparagus is a great finger food for snacking on!
- Broccoli and cauliflower: Versatile and very healthful – eat them raw (with dip if you like) or cooked, in a salad or even a slaw.
- Carrots: Sweet, crunchy, good for your teeth, eyes and heart! Perfect raw (as a snack or salad) or cooked in a stew.
- Peppers: Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple! Enjoy peppers in a salad, stir-fry, or casserole or as a snack.
- Spinach: A salad of baby spinach leaves with pears or apples can turn anyone into a real spinach lover.
- Onions: The zesty onion family (scallions, leeks and garlic) offer some powerful antioxidant nutrients.
- Peas: Fresh, frozen or even canned, peas are delicious sprinkled in any dish.
- Beets: If you’ve never liked beets, try them in a new way – like roasted, grilled or lightly steamed in the microwave. They increase inflammation-fighting nitric oxide.
- Mushrooms: Just a mushroom or two adds rich flavor to a casserole, soup, stew, stir-fry or even a tossed green salad.
- Leaf and romaine lettuce: Rule of thumb for a healthy salad – the darker green or red the lettuce leaves, the more nutrients you get.
- Green, yellow or purple beans: Like their pea ‘cousins,’ beans offer some fiber and a little bit of protein, along with vitamins and minerals.
- Tomatoes: Cooking increases the availability of some tomato nutrients – so enjoy canned sauce, paste and chunks.
Here are some ways to enjoy more veggies during the day
- Add vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, onion, green or red peppers to an omelet
- Add a handful of spinach or kale to a morning smoothie
Lunch and snack:
- Add leafy greens, cucumber, or peppers to sandwiches
- Add different vegetables to a green salad, like broccoli, green beans, asparagus or peas
- Take a bag of sugar snap peas, carrots, peppers, celery and/or zucchini sticks as a snack
- Choosing kale chips or nori instead of potato chips
- Buy a bag of pre-cut mixed vegetables that will cook quickly for a side dish.
- Use a salad for the base of your meal, top with beans, chicken or fish
- Once a week make a large soup with all the left over vegetables in your fridge.
For a couple NEW produce and protein rich dishes CLICK HERE.
I recommend trying to get in 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-6 days a week. Mix it up and combine different types of exercise like walking, yoga or HIIT training to keep it interesting and to keep your body challenged.
My 30 Day Slim & Sculpt program provides a fully detailed meal plan along with plenty of substitutions from the recipe book, along with a monthly workout calendar featuring 14 different workouts for all levels.
To learn more about this program CLICK HERE.