Training is fun. Training is easy. After we spend one or two hours in the gym, we always feel so much better! Lets admit, you NEVER regret a good training sesh.
For most people, exercise is the best part of a health and fitness program, especially if you’ve tailored your program to include activities you thoroughly enjoy, like group fitness, cardio tennis or swimming.
The hardest part happens before and after exercise.
Yep, I’m referring to your nutrition program. What you eat in between sessions is just about (if not more) important to your overall health, performance and results than your training program itself.
HERE’S SOME ESSENTIAL INFO TO CONSIDER WHEN WE’RE PUTTING TOGETHER A HEALTHY EATING PLAN.
The primary function of food is to provide immediate energy in the form of calories. But not all calories are the same.
For carbohydrates, you are better off with unrefined choices. These have more fibre and do not trigger aggressive insulin release. Unrefined carbohydrates are also referred to as complex because these are more difficult to break down than simple carbohydrates.
Lean sources of protein are recommended to lower cholesterol levels and for easier digestion. You should also choose a variety of protein because each type offers a different amino acid profile.
Once vilified by media, fat serves many important functions. Fat protects our immune system, the structure of our cells and can lower cholesterol levels. Your best options are food sources that contain essential fatty acids which promote higher levels of High Density Lipoproteins or HDLs; the good cholesterol.
Here are 10 better food choices to consider:
- Oatmeal- Healthier alternative to packaged commercial cereal.
- Brown Rice- Burns slower than white rice for more sustained energy.
- Rye Bread- Fortified with vitamins and minerals.
- Sweet Potatoes- Has higher fibre and tastier compared to regular potatoes.
- Chicken Breast- Packed with protein but contains less fat than dark meat.
- Tuna- Very lean source of protein and can be used for sandwiches and casseroles.
- Top Round Beef- Because of its leanness, it is perfect for stewing.
- Eggs- Good value for money, contains lecithin and easy to prepare.
- Salmon- Although technically a protein source, unlike tuna it contains high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for heart health.
- Nuts- Almonds and walnuts are also good sources of protein and contain healthy essential fatty acids as well.
You can design healthy meal plans with these food choices.
Here is a sample menu plan:
- Two egg omelet with low fat cheese and grilled tomato
- Skim milk or Black Coffee
Mid- Morning Snack:
- 50 grams Walnuts
- Baked chicken breast with marina sauce
- Brown Rice
- Tuna Sandwich on Rye Bread
- Braised top round with sweet potatoes
- 50 grams Almonds
Always pair your main meals with steamed veges. Your best options are broccoli, cauliflower, kale and spinach. You can add more flavour and nutrition to stews by adding garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers.
Lastly, don’t forget to add lettuce and tomatoes to your tuna sandwich.
These are only some of the better food choices you can make when planning your meals. There are certainly other options for you to consider but this is an easy start.
Once in awhile vary your choices to make your meals more interesting and exciting.
By utilizing better food choices your workouts will become more productive and your life will be healthier.