Nutrition- The Basics
I don’t need to tell you the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle or that the risk of multiple diseases increases with poor nutrition. I’ve outlined some of the basics here to show that it isn’t difficult to improve your diet- knowledge is power!
A calorie is a unit of energy- one calorie is the amount of energy needed to heat one gram of water one degree Celsius. Every food or drink you consume –other than water- provides your body with energy (calories) and there are 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat. When you eat/drink more calories than your body burns you gain weight and vice-versa.
The next way to describe foods is in terms of their macronutrient composition. Simply put; how much of a food is fat, carbohydrate or protein. There are approximately 9 calories in a gram of fat and 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein which is why high fat foods are high in calories. There are no
food groups that are the enemy, sugar and fat are not bad they just provide high amounts of energy, often without providing much else in the way of nutrition so you need to be sure not to eat these in excess.
Water, Fibre, Vitamins and Minerals
On average adults in the UK eat less than 2/3 of the recommended amount of fibre, 89% of the population are chronically dehydrated and only 30% of adults eat 5 or more portions of fruit and veg daily. When you consider that these are 3 of the most important dietary issues for disease prevention it’s easy to see why we’re going downhill!
Top Tips to Eat for Health
Stay hydrated! Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water (or sugar-free squash) every day
Keep track of your calories! If you eat just 200 more calories than you burn every day you would gain 1 ½ stones in a year
Eat whole foods! Eating fruit and vegetables with the skin on, raw or at least not over-cooked, rolled oats instead of instant, wholegrain rice etc. will keep you fuller for longer and naturally increase your fibre intake
Why stop at 5-a-day? It’s a good goal to start with but the more the better! Also try to maximise veg intake over high sugar or starchy fruits. Vegetables have few calories for their volume, meaning that you can eat loads for few calories so
fill up on big portions of these
Keep your protein intake high! Aim for at least 1g per lb of lean body weight per day, for a simpler target go for a minimum of 80g. Muscle devours calories to stay alive so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the easier it is to lose weight or remain a healthy weight
Cook from scratch! The best rule to stick to is: if you can’t pronounce or have never heard of an ingredient, don’t eat it! Generally the less processed a food is, the higher the level of vitamins and minerals left in it
Eat treats! Still have a piece of cake if you want one, or go out for a meal or a night
out and have a few bevvies. Life is too short to say no to these things, plus you’re much more likely to binge if you’re too strict with yourself. Keep treats to a sensible amount e.g. 1 Mars bar not a whole pack of cookies, limiting your alcohol intake to social events instead of drinking each night out of habits etc.
If you’d like any more information about nutrition plans or my 8 Week Fat Loss Plan (next one is starting on the 14th May) please get in touch.