A healthy diet is crucial for proper nutrition and good health. It can help protect you from numerous chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Eating various healthy foods, regularly exercising, avoiding sugary drinks and food, and consuming less salt and trans fats are essential for a healthy you.
Small changes in diets can make a massive difference to your overall health and the productivity to meet your gym goals. Often, we find it challenging and overwhelming to start a change in our lifestyle and food intake. However, like how you made the first step in joining a gym, you can also improve your eating style. The following are tips, tricks, and goals you can follow to eat healthily.
- Take Advantage of Supplements, Shakes, and Replacements.
- Practice That Half of Your Plate Is Filled With Fruits and Veggies
- Increase Omega-3 Intake
- Switch To Low-fat Milk or Fat-free Milk
- Add a Variety of Lean Protein Foods to Your Diet
- Avoid Sugary Drinks
- Cut Back on Solid Fats
- Don’t Starve Yourself.
- Eat Whole Grains
- Ask Around
- Don’t Let Your ‘Cheat Days’ Ruin Your Progress
- Snack Away!
- Ensure Hydration!
- Final Thoughts
Take Advantage of Supplements, Shakes, and Replacements.
Are you having a hard time planning out a balanced meal? Well, you can try taking advantage of protein shakes and replacements instead. When you’re too busy or can’t find the right balance of food, you may get discouraged that you’re missing out on your chance to eat healthily.
There are shakes and supplements that are packed with all the vitamins and nutrients you need for the day. These shakes are so complete that many people often feel full after consuming them, just like how you’d feel when eating a real meal.
Practice That Half of Your Plate Is Filled With Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables have colorful colors. When you add it to your plate, it can improve your mood when eating. Be sure to choose orange, dark-green, and red vegetables like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. The fruits and vegetables can either be in the form of a dessert, side dishes, or main. It will all depend on your ability in the kitchen or what you order.
Increase Omega-3 Intake
You can find Omega-3s in salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, etc. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties, and you can easily include them in your diet. Inflammation can cause muscles to break down. So adding anti-inflammatory omega-3s to our diet can improve muscle protein synthesis.
Aside from muscle health, Omega-3 is also responsible for a healthy heart. A daily recommended intake of Omega-3-rich foods can slow plaque buildup, reduce the number of bad cholesterol in your body, and reduce the risk of developing arrhythmias.
Switch To Low-fat Milk or Fat-free Milk
Milk is a good addition to a healthy diet, but milk can also have a lot of fat. You can search for alternatives and replacements that are much more healthy, such as soy milk, almond milk, and other plant-based milk sources.
Low-fat milk or fat-free milk would be much better for a gym-goer such as yourself. We have to take into account where we get our fats and carbohydrates. Opt for a low-fat or fat-free one to ensure that you won’t gain unwanted fat by consuming your milk.
Add a Variety of Lean Protein Foods to Your Diet
The protein food group includes seeds, nuts, peas, eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans, etc. Chicken breast and turkey breast are good options when you want to add hearty meals full of nutrients and vitamins to your meal plan.
Ensure that the label says 90% lean or higher if you want to opt for beef. Some cuts of beef can give you additional and unnecessary carbs and fats, so be sure to ask the meat handler if it’s okay for someone trying to build muscle at the gym.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Energy drinks, sports drinks, and soft drinks are a significant source of added calories and sugar in diets. Consuming too many sugary drinks may lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions.
Drink water (or unsweetened beverages) instead. If you want to add flavor to your water, you can add juice, lime, lemon, cucumber, watermelon, etc. There are many alternatives if you’re looking for some flavor to your drinks. Water is indeed a much better option for a healthy life.
Cut Back on Solid Fats
Who doesn’t love pizza, fatty processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, ribs, sausages), ice cream, cakes, and cookies?
These foods are something that we grew up eating. It always feels like a reward when we get our hands on these things. However, these are solid fats, and if you’re trying to eat healthy to meet your fitness goals, you should cut back on these fats.
Don’t Starve Yourself.
People tend to rely on starving themselves to lose weight. However, starving yourself can be much more harmful to your body. When you go for hours without eating, the next time you eat, you will be hungrier and eat more than what you intended.
Remember that we all need food to survive as human beings, so don’t starve yourself to meet your fitness goals as there are plenty of things you can do to achieve them.
Eat Whole Grains
The grains we eat tend to be refined-grain. Switching to whole grain is much better for those with fitness goals in mind. Refined grains have been milled to remove the bran and germs that grains often carry. However, it’s a product stripped of more than one of its nutritional layers.
On the other hand, whole grains are a grain’s original state, which is the entire seed or kernel of the grain. Since it’s in its original state, it would have more nutrients than refined grains.
Don’t worry if you can’t make the switch since refined grains are still enriched with iron and other B vitamins. However, they lack other micronutrients found in whole grains.
Don’t be afraid to ask around. You can ask your gym peers how they eat to reach their fitness goals or request for a waiter to turn your meal into a healthy one. Your gym peers are like you; they make time for research to help educate themselves on how to eat healthily and meet their gym goals. You can ask them about their experience and how you can improve your eating routine to ensure its effectiveness.
Suppose you like eating out, but you’re afraid of the meal not being prepared healthily. In that case, you can always communicate with the waiter if they can turn it into a healthier version. For example, you can ask for salad instead of fries or bread as your side. You can also request that they use less oil or cheese when cooking your food or lessen the portion size.
Don’t Let Your ‘Cheat Days’ Ruin Your Progress
You’ve been working hard at the gym and in the kitchen, trying to prepare a healthy and hearty meal. When gym-goers reach their fitness goal, they feel like they should celebrate with a cheat meal. However, you have to spend your cheat days wisely!
Overeating could ruin your progress, and it may make you miserable in the future. Cheat days are lovely; we all deserve to make ourselves happy by eating our favorite food. However, don’t forget to balance when eating to ensure that you remain motivated and committed to exercise and a healthy diet, maintaining the work you’ve put in at the gym.
When snacking, do what works best for you—some take snacks before a workout, while some others eat minutes after. If you prefer to snack before your gym activity, you may not get the required energy in training that lasts less than an hour. However, it does prevent hunger pangs.
On the other hand, if your workout lasts for more than an hour, you may enjoy the benefits of a carbohydrate-rich beverage or food during your workout, giving you an energy boost. These energy filling snacks include:
- Energy bar
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Granola Bar (Low-fat)
- Sports drink
- Diluted Juice
- Fruit Smoothie
After eating your meals, ensure that you drink the right amount of fluids for your body. When you sweat at the gym, you lose some of the water in your body. People sweat to regulate their body temperatures when doing strenuous activities, e.g., doing gym routines.
In addition to avoiding sugary drinks, you should drink more water instead. Water is a must before, during, and after an exercise to prevent dehydration. Water will be your best friend during your gym journey.
To replace the lost fluids from sweating, peeing, exercising, etc., you would need water to replenish your body’s reserves. Of course, if you exercise for more than an hour, a sports drink would be beneficial for you to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance. It would also give you more energy as it contains helpful carbohydrates.
Trying to eat healthily is a challenge for most people, especially when it involves gym goals. Be sure to stick with the items mentioned above to maintain a consistent, healthy, and balanced diet. Just be sure to keep your motivation by reminding yourself of your goal and doing what makes you happy.
Take it step-by-step. Try doing the tips and goals mentioned above for a week, and see how it goes. Trying to eat healthily and going to the gym can improve your health in the future and the present. Your old self would thank you for making the first step in this journey.