FOOOOOOD! What, when and how much? [Dream answer; everything, whenever you’re hungry and ALL OF IT!] But in reality, here are some super simple guidelines to keep you on track. And I do mean guidelines, this isn’t the be all and end all!
The what; It’s the [macro]nutrients in food that give instructions to the cells in our body on how to complete their necessary functions of growth, development and maintenance. So eating healthy and wholesome is a must. I’m all for carbs and devouring a burger every now and then! You shouldn’t have to deprive yourself of any food group, and definitely don’t restrict your diet to the point of breaking where you want to eat everything with fat and sugar in a hella ‘cheat meal’. So, when it comes to WHAT to eat, make sure you’re incorporating all three major groups – fats, proteins and carbs. This is where it varies a little depending on specific requirements, training demands, goals and individual characteristics, but an average guide;
FATS: 20% | CARBS: 55% | PROTEIN: 25%
My go-to staple foods: broccoli; more protein than red meat and very very little fat. Leafy greens; high in fibre to aid digestion. Lean meat (chicken breast); little fat and packed with protein [clearly I’m all for protein]. Avocado; the good kind of fat [and duh, its avo!]
The when; to keep your body functioning optimally, avoid feeling sluggish and maintain a continuous digestion process, you should be eating around 6 smaller meals a day, instead of the traditional 3. Breakfast; get your sugars done here, if you’re a fruit fiend – the morning is your time to chow down. Morning tea; snack time! Lunch; should be the biggest meal of your day (nope, not at dinner time!) afternoon tea; MORE SNACKS! Just a small pick-me-up to avoid the 3:30pm slump. Dinner; try to eat before 7pm and at LEAST 2 hours before your planning on some shut eye. If you’re training regularly, aim to get carbs and protein into your body within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Food is the best tool for optimal and fast recovery, replenishing what you’ve used and rebuilding the protein in your muscles and energy used through carb intake.
How much; food portioning can be tricky, I don’t expect you to weigh and macro count all of your meals, so getting the right amount [as a guide of course] should be about the size of your fist. We know what to eat and it’s just as important to know how much. As information is carried in the nutrients of our food, no matter if it’s super healthy or totally not, portion control matters!! A meal that is far too big results in too much information being shoved into our body, with this much info [nutrients] to sort and deal with in one go, our body simply ‘stores it for later’. Kind of like that job you’ve been putting off that you push to the side while you’re too busy! Only problem is with our bodies, if you’re continually giving it an excess of food to deal with, it never gets around to those ‘stored nutrients’ and that’s where excess body fat comes in. Keep doing this time and time again and we’re dealing with the issue of being overweight. BUT DON’T OVER DO IT IN THE OPPOSITE! Too little information given to the body from teeny tiny portions [or worse still, skipping meals all together] will be detrimental to the functioning of our cells. Not providing a full set of instructions results in half a job being done. Growth and development of body cells will be stunted and this too can result in an array of health problems. Regularly undereating will also slow down the digestive system [maintenance giving way] as it doesn’t have the info to keep working, so while you may lose weight to start, you’ll be gaining it all back AND SOME when this happens and your body just stores every. single. thing. you. eat.
Eat healthy, eat balanced, and eat often.