These healthy diet tips will assist you in maintaining a healthy diet, which goes hand in hand with good physical and mental health, better body composition i.e. low body fat and high lean muscle and exercise performance.
Looking for the next big fad or attempting super strict and unrealistic meal plans is not going to help you lose fat and keep it off in the long term.
Making simple yet effective changes to your diet by using these healthy diet tips can help you to build new habits that will stick with you for as long as you manage to remember, if you can turn them into long term habits you will not even notice you are doing them and easily reap the long term benefits.
Here are 5 easy healthy diet tips guidelines to make your diet healthier:
Plan and Prepare your Meals
Planning, shopping and preparing your meals is one of the most effective things you can do to ensure you keep on top of your diet quality and ensure healthy purposeful nutrition.
If you don’t know what items you need how will you know what to buy when out shopping for food?
Take the guess work away and plan a minimum of 2 – 3 days in advance what you’re going to eat and you will have a solid idea of what food items you require. This way you are guaranteed to be in control of your meals, which means you are also in control of what you want to achieve in the short and long term.
Make Lean Protein Food Choices
Lean protein choices include fresh eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, white fish (cod), oily fish (salmon), which are all preferably free range, wild or grass fed.
Making sure you get enough protein is essential to building and maintaining lean muscle mass and muscle quality.
Depending on your lifestyle and training load a good rule of thumb for protein intake would be 1 gram per kilogram of your body weight for both men and women (e.g. 80 grams of protein for an 80 kg male).
If you’re working out at a high intensity often or you’re involved in competitive sport this requirement can increase up to around 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on your activity and the schedule of that activity.
Choose Complex Starchy and Fibrous Carbohydrates
The best forms of complex starchy carbohydrates include sweet potato, yams, parsnips, winter squash, beets, butternut squash, carrots and quinoa (white potato can be included but has a low nutrient content whilst being high glycemic – aim to use post intense exercise only).
The best forms of fibrous carbohydrates include leafy green vegetables (spinach, collard greens, kale, rocket), asparagus, broccoli, bok choi, sprouts, cauliflower.
These carbohydrate choices provide a steady supply of energy to be used over time rather than a sudden and dramatic influx; this creates a favourable blood sugar level and insulin control to allow better health and weight management i.e. less fat storage.
If fat loss is your primary goal then starchy carbohydrates can be reserved for use post exercise sessions only to help replenish glycogen stores, whilst fibrous carbohydrates can make up the rest of your meals as they contain smaller amounts of calories and high fibre (not to mention an abundance of vitamins and minerals).
Keep Yourself in a Hydrated State
The human body is made up of approximately 50 – 65% water, so we can see that it is very important to provide a regular supply of fluids from sources such as filtered tap water, green tea, herbal teas and fruit juices in moderation.
Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, tiredness, fatigue, dizziness, hunger and dry irritable skin. All these symptoms are completely avoidable by simply drinking more water.
Of all these symptoms hunger is perhaps the most troublesome when it comes to developing healthy nutrition habits.
When you become dehydrated the feelings can often be mistaken for hunger and this can either lead to overeating or poor food choices.
So if you feel hungry and you have already eaten, try a glass of water before considering more food.
If you want more information on health and water intake then you should also check out 3 very cool benefits of drinking more water.
Avoid Excessive Sugar Intake
Sugar is an addictive substance and whilst it is necessary for life and physical and mental function it can become extremely harmful if consumed in excessive amounts from unhealthy sources.
Problems associated with high sugar intake include overweight, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay, as well as short term effects involving inflammation, tiredness, fatigue and headaches.
Sugar is everywhere and dominates the ingredients of almost all processed foods and can even be found in the unlikeliest of places i.e. so called ‘health foods’. Cutting out all processed foods would be a great idea to reduce total intake and boost your health.
Eating natures whole foods such as fruit and plenty of vegetables will provide unrefined, naturally occurring sugars, and these are ample enough to satisfy energy needs.
Here are some disguised names for sugar to look out for (time to become a label detective), the list is fairly extensive:
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Cane-juice crystals
- Cane sugar
- Carob syrup
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Date sugar
- Diastatic malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Fruit juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Glucose solids
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup
- Grape sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Raw sugar
- Refiner’s syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Turbinado sugar
- Yellow sugar