In-season Eating Habits: Easier than you think.
Part 2 – What to eat?
Nutrition Tip #1: Eat Real Food!
Do you know what the difference between ‘Kraft’ peanut butter and ‘just peanuts’ peanut butter is? One is a ‘food-product’ and the other is real food. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the food in your house. Chances are you have a whole lot of ‘food products’ rather than actual food stashed away.
The simplest guideline to improving your overall health, body composition, recovery time, immune system function, etc.… is to decrease the amount of food-products you waste your money on and inevitably consume.
What is a food product you ask?! Well let’s start what we know, the definition of REAL FOOD.
- If you can’t hunt, fish, pluck, grow, or ferment/culture the food, it probably is a food product and therefor you shouldn’t eat it.
- If it comes in a box, or plastic wrapper, it’s probably not a food, but rather a food product…. and you shouldn’t eat it.
- If it wasn’t food 100 years ago, chances are it still isn’t food today.
- If it contains lots of industrial vegetable oil (canola, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, etc.) and/or added sugar/high fructose corn syrup…you guessed it! It’s a food product.
Now you get the idea of where REAL food comes from, but who cares where it comes from, what can it do for me? Easy cowboy! Keep reading.
- REAL food regulates appetite – so you don’t overeat.
- REAL food controls blood sugar/insulin – so you can avoid energy swings and diabetes.
- REAL food provides the best nutrition – so you can remain healthy for life.
- REAL food has a sane amount of energy – so that you can’t accidentally overeat.
- REAL food has a longstanding relationship with our body – so that our bodies know what to do with it.
Nutrition Tip #2:
Eat food that was not mass-produced or manufactured. Eating food that has been fed and treated well (i.e. free-range chicken, turkey, vegetables…) ensures that you receive the essential nutrients from the product and none of the growth hormones or pesticides harmful to your health. It promotes the ethical healthy production of food and is environmentally friendly. Choosing food from local farmers ‘markets guarantees that you know where your food is coming from, who is producing that food, and exactly how it is produced.
Stuff to look for when grocery shopping:
- Meat, eggs, and dairy from organic or grass-fed animals.
- Buy produce from local, seasonal, and sustainably grown sources
Nutrition Tip #3
Fruits and Veggies! You hear it everywhere that you need to eat a minimum of 5 servings per day. The easiest way to do that is to eat them with every meal. That doesn’t mean to stop at 5, if you can get more, go for it! Fruits and vegetables will maximize your health and in turn maximize your performance.
Why are fruits and vegetables so important to eat at every meal?
- They are alkaline producing, which means that they can help to preserve bone mass and muscle tissue.
- They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients (non-energy producing minerals found in plants.)
- They contain lots of water to help you stay hydrated.
- Fruits and vegetables have a high water and fiber content, they’re low in calories relative to their volume.
- Consuming fruits and veggies on a regular basis can result in a higher volume of food intake. Since humans consume a consistent volume of food (~4lb/day), a high consumption of low calorie density foods can help control overall food intake and manage body weight.
Nutrition Tip #4
More Protein! I’m sure you’ve heard you need more protein form your local supplement store nutrition superstar (insert sarcasm).
Protein is the most filling of all the macronutrients, meaning it will keep your hunger away longer than carbohydrates or fat. Protein also has the highest Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF), meaning that it takes the most energy to digest (20-30% of total calories in protein eaten are used to digest it!). Carbohydrates are next (5-10%) and then fats (0-3%). Therefor, if you eat 100 calories from protein, your body uses 20-30 of those calories to digest and absorb the protein. The same concept goes for carbohydrates and fats with their respective percentages.
Protein is also the least likely nutrient to be stored as fat, considering you don’t overindulge. Consuming an adequate amount of protein every day (~1g/lb. of lean body mass) will maintain lean mass and help create new muscle tissue.
- Women should consume approximately 15-30 grams at every meal/snack.
- Men should consume approximately 30-50 grams at every meal/snack.
- Get most of your protein from real whole food.
- No more than 40 grams in your protein powder scoop bro.
Nutrition Tip #5
Drink water and varieties of water. Drinking flavored beverages such as: low calorie drinks, sweetened teas, fruit drinks/juices, sweet coffee-bar drinks (Frappuccino’s and hot chocolate), rice/soy milks and sport drinks are just another way to get in more useless nutrient deficient calories throughout the day. The downside? These empty drinks will have ZERO effect on your energy levels and hunger.
The best non-calorie drink choices you can make are: water, tea (the unsweetened variety) and black coffee. Fruit juice is ok in moderation, but the pure juice kind, not the store bought sugar sweetened kind.
Nutrition Tip #6
Want to put some on or take some off? – Drink some! Even though this goes against what I just said above, you CAN drink your calories if the goal is to gain weight.
Super Shakes are a great way to sneak in some extra calories between meals. You can very easily throw some cottage cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, fruits, nuts, veggies and protein powder to give you one hell-of-a shake! On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can still make a super shake just put less inside. It can be used as a simple strategy to suppress your hunger and take in fewer calories for that meal.
Here’s a combination that I read about, tried, and fell in love with:
“Chocolate Peanut Butter Bomb”
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 tbsp. raw, mixed nuts
Nutrition Tip #7
Choose big to get big! Similar to the tip above, if you’re a scrawny ectomorph trying to put on a few extra pounds of muscle you are much better off going for the full-fat version of foods. When push comes to shove, you’re going to need more calories for your body to grow and build muscle. If you fall into this ‘scrawny guy’ category, Fat-free cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and skim milk aren’t the best options for you. They don’t match up to the full-fat versions with respect to caloric density. Despite what you might think, they are equivalent in health benefits as they simply contain more nutrients, like vitamin A. What does the extra fat do? The fat helps the absorption of those extra nutrients and vitamins.
- Whole milk (2% +)
- 4% fat cottage cheese, and whole fat Greek yogurt.
- Eat plenty of nuts and extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to take some fish oil to balance the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio and to balance the increase in saturated fat intake (which isn’t a bad thing!)
Who wants a shake?
To your success,