Nutrition information is everywhere, how do you know what to believe?
Not only is information everywhere, it tends to be complex and contradictory:
Eat low-carb; eat low-fat.
Eat all the bacon you want, it’s good for you.
Whole grains are heart healthy.
Don’t eat grain, gluten is evil.
Eat the “rainbow” of foods.
Breakfast is the most important meal.
Skip breakfast to lose fat.
Don’t eat after 8 pm or you’ll gain weight.
Allow me to clear up the confusion.
Nutrition is simple, but simple doesn’t sell.
A magazine promising instant ten-pound weight loss from eating acai berries will definitely catch your eye in the grocery checkout line, right? That doesn’t mean the information is true, or that it’s applicable to you. I know it’s tempting, but you have to train your brain to ignore the hype.
Nutrition is really simple, and I’ll break down how to become a professional grocery shopper, ace your diet, lose weight, and keep it off for good.
To be a nutrition “pro,” just remember PROduce, PROtein, and PROcessed foods.
These basic guidelines will help you navigate the grocery store, stock up on healthy foods, and build deliciously nutritious meals that make you look and feel good. The advantage to eating this way is that it provides your body with all of the nutrition (vitamins/minerals) you need and controls calories automatically without the need for counting or tracking.
- Every meal should be built around produce – fruits and veggies.
Place extra emphasis on a variety of vegetables. Fresh, canned, or frozen, that doesn’t matter as much as getting as many vegetables in your diet as possible. Veggies are high in vitamins and minerals, made up of mostly fiber and water to keep you full, and relatively low in calories.
A caveat regarding fruit: stick to actual pieces of fruit. Fruit snacks and juices remove all the fiber and leave behind straight sugar. Without fiber to slow digestion, the fructose (fruit sugar) hits your blood stream at full blast and causes a rollercoaster of energy highs and lows that tempts you to reach for an energy drink to get through your work day.
- Every meal should have a protein source.
The obvious choices here are meat, fish, and eggs. Other good options include low-fat dairy (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, plain unsweetened yogurt) and plant-based protein (nuts, seeds, beans, legumes).
Using the first two tips, you can build the majority of your meals easily. Fill half your plate with different vegetables. Use ¼ of the plate for your protein source. The remaining ¼ of your plate can be a starch source (potato, squash, rice) or fruit. Use fat as an accent to give your meal texture and flavor: olive oil-based salad dressing, a sprinkle of cheese, a slice of avocado, a handful of nuts. As mentioned, building meals this way automatically controls your calories because vegetables are super low-calorie and satiating. You get to eat more food, while consuming fewer total calories.
- As much as possible, avoid processed foods.
These “food items” are not really food. Things like chips, crackers, cookies, meal replacement bars, and boxed dinners are truly junk. They don’t belong in your diet. Now, I’m not saying you should never eat a cookie again, but maybe you could try baking some chocolate chip cookies from scratch instead of crushing an entire row of Oreos? (And when you do, save me some cookie dough, please.)
Some processed foods are not so bad, but you have to do some detective work to sort out the good from the ugly.
Take pasta sauce, for example. What would you expect to be in a jar of marinara? Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, herbs, spices… corn syrup and preservatives, right? Not so fast. Most store-bought brands of pasta sauce actually contain a ton of filler to make them taste appealing since mass market brands don’t use a whole lot of real/fresh ingredients.
That doesn’t mean you have to buy fancy, all-natural, organic pasta sauce. Just read labels, and make sure what you’re buying “makes sense” based off of the food you’re seeking.
Another good example is peanut butter. You’d think the jar would contain only peanuts and salt, but most name brands are full of junk like palm kernel oil and sugar. A quick glance at an ingredients list will tell you what you need to know.
When it comes to nutrition, keep it simple.
Don’t buy into the health food hype that magazines and the media try to sell you. That’s all they’re doing – selling a product.
Eat simply. Produce, protein, and unprocessed food.
Struggling with your diet? I can help you.
Apply for your FREE strategy call now.
We’ll discuss your goals, determine what’s holding you back,
and come up with a simple nutritional strategy for building your dream body!