Whether you consider yourself to be health-conscious or you’re working toward making more nutritious food choices, striving to eat less…
In Part 1, I shared five simple nutrition tips that are easy to follow and help you wade through all of the confusing and conflicting nutrition information around you. These tips will not only help you achieve a lean physique, they are also fantastic for optimal health and performance.
Today, I am sharing five more. Keep in mind, if you’re new to the nutrition game, you might not want to implement all of these at once—that can be super overwhelming. Maybe just one at a time until each becomes a habit. If you’re a veteran of sound nutrition, use these as a checklist to make sure you’re staying on top of your game, at least 90% of the time.
Low-carb, no-carb, good carb, bad carb, low-glycemic, high-glycemic—it’s enough to make anyone feel crazy!
While low-carb diets can be very effective for fat loss, they can be difficult for many people to follow. Consistently following a low-carb diet without incorporating higher carb meals or days can lead to some health issues, like sluggish thyroid function.
So how can you incorporate carbohydrates into your diet without inhibiting fat loss?
Simple. Make your carbs work for you by timing them correctly.
Immediately post-weight training, our muscle cells are more insulin-sensitive than normal, and our fat cells are less insulin-sensitive. This is the body’s way of ensuring that nutrition consumed post-workout gets shuttled where it’s needed most—to the muscle for repair.
The best time to consume starchy carbohydrates (with an easily digested protein source, of course), is within an hour or so after a weight training workout. If you weight train very intensely, you may actually want a small meal of protein and carbs before training as well.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different, and some people function much better on a moderate to higher carb diet.
Experimentation is key.
Some of the most nutritious carb sources include: sweet potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, rice, butternut squash, berries, or gluten-free oats.
For more information about carb sources and how they affect your body, check out this article.
For years, the health industry convinced us that we should be afraid of eating fat, because it would not only make us fat, but also give us heart disease and high cholesterol. Now we know that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Consuming healthy fats will keep you full and satisfied, and more importantly it will help stabilize your blood sugar, mood, and energy levels. Sound familiar? (see: Tip #4).
Even though the health industry is starting to acknowledge the benefits of fat, there is still a lot of confusion about which fats are “good” and which are “bad.”
These are just some examples of quality fat sources: olive oil, real butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters, whole eggs, walnuts, cashews, fatty fish, grass-fed beef.
I generally try to avoid fats from conventionally fried food, fats used in mass-produced cakes and pastries, most vegetable oils (corn, soybean, cottonseed, canola, safflower), all hydrogenated oils (trans fats).
And no, I don’t mean Skittles (though they can be a fun, occasional treat)!
By “taste the rainbow” I mean include more colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet. Many of us stick with the same vegetables all the time. In fact, I’m totally guilty of this, myself!
There are several color categories for fruits and veggies. The broader a variety of foods you get from these different categories, the more likely you are to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
Here are just a few examples of fruits and vegetables from each category:
In today’s culture of abundance and excess, it’s hard to imagine a world without grocery stores on every corner, with any kind of food we want, available at our fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As lucky as we are to have so many options, our bodies aren’t designed to eat certain foods in large amounts year-round. Many fruits and vegetables grow seasonally. And you might have noticed that we crave different foods at different times of the year. During the fall and winter we tend to crave hearty meats and root vegetables, and during the spring and summer we often crave lighter fare like fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.
Whether you’re at your local grocery store, or the farmer’s market, try to pick foods that are grown locally and are in season to ensure that you’re making the healthiest choices.
Food allergies and sensitivities can wreak havoc on your digestive system and negatively affect nutrient absorption and energy levels. The worst part is that many people don’t know they are suffering from them.
The eight most common food allergens are: milk, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish.
Try pulling some or all of these foods out of your diet for at least three to four weeks. Add them back in slowly, one at a time, to gauge your reaction. Give yourself a full two to three days to see if a particular food causes a reaction. Common reactions include: rashes, breakouts, stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea, brain fog, exhaustion, or just a general feeling of malaise.
Those eight foods are a good place to start, but you can always try pulling out any food that you suspect you might not tolerate well and see what happens.
Nutrition seems to be a sticking point for many women, and with good reason. There’s a lot of confusing information out there, and as you’ve already realized, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re one of these women, let us help.
A message from GGS…
In our Strongest You Coaching program, we help women just like you reach their health, physique, and mindset goals. Strongest You Coaching is about more than just training and nutrition. It’s about changing your self-talk and inner dialogue, learning to let fitness enhance your life instead of rule your life, and finally healing your relationship with food and your body, all with the help of your Girls Gone Strong Coach, and your fellow Strongest You Coaching group.