I try to avoid discussing food in too much detail with my clients because I am not a qualified nutritionalist. However it is an essential part of being healthy and goes hand in hand with getting fit, and off course, losing weight, which are the main reasons my clients come to me.
So I thought I'd keep it simple and write down the things I believe in and tell my clients when they ask "What should I eat?".
Those of you who know me with know I also don't do detail very much so please dont expect much science or thorough explanation. I'll just be saying it as it is!
The FIRST rule is to avoid ALL processed food.
Ready meals, crisps, sweets, biscuits, cakes have stuff in them that you don't need and aren't particularly good for you. They are generally loaded wtih sugar and additives you couldn't pronounce. They are also very calorie dense and often don't provide any nutritional benefit.
Secondly CUT down your TAKEAWAYS and fast food
That little piece of lettuce and tomato that MacDonalds stick on their burger doesn't really contribute to your 5 a day and the chewy white bread bun it goes in doesn't give you any nutrients at all - just white flour and sugar.
Chinese and Indian takeaways are full of oil, and again don't provide much nutritional value. Where are the vegetables in that? And don't tell me you order the side orders of veg regularly!
If you have to have them, limit them to one a month. Honestly they really are not good for you.
You CAN & SHOULD
Eat every 2-3 hrs. This will keep your blood sugar levels constant, avoid peaks and troughs and stop you feeling starving hungry at the end of the day when you are likely to reach for the pre-dinner unnecessary snacks. Think five small meals per day.
For snacks, try things like fruit, rice cakes/nut butter, handful of nuts/raisins. That sort of stuff
Eat protein with every meal. This will keep you sated. Its surprisingly hard to do this by the way, but consider eggs, soya beans, spirulina, chia seeds, cheese. If you exercise hard consider protein powder added to a fruit shake a couple of times a week.
Avoid low fat. This stuff just has added sugar, and fat is not bad for you!. The right types of fat are beneficial and important for joint health. Avocados, olive/coconut oil, full-fat greek yoghurt, nuts & seeds all provie this. Enjoy it but don’t overindulge in the good stuff!
Have colourful meals. Colour means variety and also reflects a diet rich in different nutrients. Brown meals are generally complex carbohydrates such as pasta, pastry and bread. Add a good range of vegetables and meat and you not only have food thats attractive, it also is healthier!
Add herbs & spices. This is particularly helpful if you are changing to diet to something you consider to be 'rabbit food'. I find that adding fresh coriander, basil, mint, parsley transforms a salad dish immensely - as does adding some seeds, nuts, raisins or feta.
You will surely discover some delicious dishes with a bit of experimentation with flavours.
Big bowls of pasta are not healthy meals! its just white stodge that will bloat you and add boring, poor nutrient calories in your diet. Wean yourself off it by halfing the amount of stodge and replacing it with meat and vegetables.
Eat clean & fresh. Meat, vegetables, pulses such as wholemeal/wild rice, fruit should be the bulk of what you eat, most of the time. Freshly cooked, with herbs & spices. Its quick, easy & nutritious. Your own home made food always tastes better than the stuff you buy in the shops - honest! It just takes a bit of practice.
A little of what you fancy. After all that ranting (I got a bit carried away there!), don't deprive yourself of everything. Just think about how much of it you are stuffing in your face. Do you really need the whole bar of chocolate? How will you really feel afterwards? Have a taste and save some for another day......