32 Tips to Improve Your Health and Fitness
#9. The 3 Big Nutrition Basics
The three big nutrition basics are: What do I eat? How much do I eat? When do I eat?
#1 What Do I Eat?
Eat real foods, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Eat healthy fats (in moderation). Eat foods that make you feel good, that fuel your health and fitness goals. Eat foods that you enjoy, and occasionally less healthy foods for special occasions and to build into relationships with loved ones.
#2 How Much Do I Eat?
Eating the right foods (macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fat) in the right amounts (calories) will tell the story of your body composition, and help you or hinder you from reaching your goals.
You can also use a simple visual guide for portion sizes, and/or track our calories & macros:
1 Palm size of protein-dense foods with each meal (2 for men).
1 Fist of vegetables with each meal (2 for men).
Optional: 1 Cupped hand of carb-dense foods (2 for men).
Optional: 1 thumb sized portion of fat-dense foods (2 for men.
Or, you can use MyFitness Pal app to track your daily calories, and macros. We recommend aiming for 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fats. It may seem daunting at first to log your food, but once you learn to use the app and start logging, the steps to log become easier, you learn shortcuts, and hitting your daily goals for calories & macros becomes rewarding!
#3 When Do I Eat?
Nutrient timing (When to eat what) depends on your lifestyle and what works for you. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 2 hours between meals, but do not go longer than 5 hours between meals.
Some people thrive eating a big breakfast, moderate lunch, and smaller dinner. Some people thrive on skipping breakfast and having two bigger meals (lunch & dinner). Some people thrive on three meals a day, and some need to add a few snacks in-between meals.
Expirement with adding more protein to your breakfast, which can help buffer craving for less healthy snacks before lunch! Try adding a protein shake right after your workout, ideally with some carbs and protein to replenish what you used and fuel muscle growth!
You are your own experiment! Aim to hit your calorie and macro goals first, and experiment with nutrient timing depending on your lifestyle.
When we consistently eat the right things, in the right amounts, for the right reasons we have the foundation set to reach our health and fitness goals!