The following healthy eating guidelines are designed to help you to eat better and be healthier.
How much you need to eat and individual adjustments will be determined by your current state of health and your health and fitness goals.
Remember to always consult with your primary care physician before embarking on any significant dietary changes or starting a fitness routine. If you have a health condition or illness you should always consult with your doctor before making any nutritional changes to your diet.
My recommendations are based on how I eat, the work I have done with many clients working as a personal trainer and from extensive reading and experimentation. This is by no means the only way to achieve your health and fitness goals. Nor is it the only way.
Make changes slowly especially if they are new and healthy habits replacing previously bad habits. Attempt only one or two major changes over a two-week period. Stay vigilant and assess your progress at the end of that time. To lose body fat, stay lean or maintain a healthy body weight, these are my healthy eating guidelines:
Remove or Reduce
Eliminate as much as possible the following:
Unhealthy starchy carbs like muffins, pastas, cupcakes, white bread, white (quick) rice, white flour, granola, pre-packaged instant oatmeal or cereals (they are loaded with sugar) etc.
Processed foods, fast foods, chips, junk food, candy bars, deep-fried foods and all soft drinks.
If you have any processed foods like the above at home, throw them out!
Protein: Meat & Fish
Increase your lean protein sources like skinless chicken or turkey breast, pork tenderloin, tuna (canned in water), salmon (canned), fresh white fish, fresh salmon, lean sandwich meat (minimally processed turkey or chicken) and lean cuts of steak like flank or rump roast. Cut off any excess fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry prior to cooking.
Protein: Milk & Eggs
Choose free range or organic eggs, organic plain yogurt, 1-2% cottage cheese, 1-2% milk or skim milk, plain soy, almond or rice milk (i.e. no sugar or flavour).
Protein & Meal Replacement Drinks
For weight loss, a product I recommend is USANA Health Sciences Macro-Optimizer Meal Replacement drinks and bars. These products contain low-glycemic carbohydrates, the good fats and healthy proteins. These products have been clinically and independently tested and are certified low-glycemic (this is especially important if you are diabetic.
Ideally you should eat one to two servings of vegetables with every meal or snack. Think colourful and by that I mean select a variety of vegetables that are green (Broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, Romain lettuce, bok choy, etc.), yellow (zucchini, cabbage, turnip, peppers), red (peppers, beats) orange (peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots) and purple (eggplant). Frozen vegetables are a handy backup to have in the freezer!
What About Potatoes?
White, red and sometimes purple, the potato has really got a bad rap. Potatoes rank high on the GI index, meaning they convert to sugar more quickly in the bloodstream than most other vegetables. However, that’s less of an issue when potatoes are consumed with a balanced meal consisting of lean protein vegetables and healthy fats.
Too often potatoes are consumed as french fries or mashed. French fries are bad for you because of the amount of trans fatty acids soaked into the potato. TFA’s are carcinogenic so best if you can completely avoid or limit your consumption. Mashed potatoes are often made with egg yolk and cream and lots of butter, which is why they taste so darn good. Mashed potatoes can taste just as good without all of the added fat.
Fruits, Berries & Melons
If your goal is body fat loss then limit fruit to 2 servings per day, and have these early in the day. Fruit converts quickly to sugar in the bloodstream. Consumed on its own, fruit can act almost like drinking a can of soda. Like potatoes it’s best to consume fruit with a balanced meal. If you are diabetic you will also want to speak with your doctor or nutritionist about what fruits are acceptable and when to eat them.
Our metabolism slows down in the latter half of the day so it’s best to consume fruit earlier in the day to support alertness and energy and to minimize fruit calories potentially converting to fat storage.
Apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, mixed frozen berries, pears, melons. If it’s not named here, eat it!
Do your best to avoid eating starchy carbs for dinner or before bed. Try to eat your starchy carbs at two optimal times:
With breakfast, as long as you are also having a lean source of protein.