Going into the gym, getting sweaty and doing the work is highly necessary and great, but without the proper nutrition our bodies are never going to look or perform the way we want it to. Nutrition is the base of every single thing we do in life. It doesn’t matter if you work out or not. If your nutrition is bad, you’re going to feel and perform badly too, no workout is going to change that. We’re not just talking about performance in the gym or in a sport, we’re talking about your professional life and life at home as well (probably more important). That’s why nutrition is at the bottom of our health pyramid, without it we’re missing its most foundational structure and everything else will soon start to deteriorate and crumble down.
Some people are convinced that eating healthy requires a lot of money or that it’s boring, those are opinions, not facts. I eat healthy pretty much every day (except for the occasional treat) and I love the foods that I am eating, every single day. You also have to make a decision for yourself, what is your health worth to you? Yes, non-processed foods might cost a little bit more than the processed crap, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Eating healthy foods and making it taste good all starts in the supermarket. So here are my tips for when you are out buying food next time.
Whole foods, stay away from processed foods
Whole foods should be on top of anyone’s list who’s trying to eat and live a healthy lifestyle. Whole foods are natural, unprocessed foods. Since they’re not processed they don’t contain added sugars or chemicals. Whole foods offer the highest nutritional value per portion of food that you’re eating. Processed foods can’t even come close to the number of vitamins, micronutrients and anti-oxidants you’re able to get in by eating whole foods.
In most supermarkets it’s important to stay close to the outer walls of the building because the processed foods can usually be found in the center of the store.
Avoid (added) sugars, Low GI value
By predominantly eating whole foods you’re avoiding a lot of (added) sugars, but there are still certain foods that we should be keeping an eye on and eat in moderations. Let’s take fruit for example, just because their nutritional value is great doesn’t mean we should be eating 5 bananas a day. There’s still a lot of sugar in (basically) all fruits, those sugars are not exempt from having a big impact on our insulin levels and with that impacts comes weight/fat gain and energy level spikes. you should definitely not stay away from fruits if you don’t want to, just be aware of how much you’re eating and what time throughout the day.
There’s a way of determining how significant the impact of a product is on your blood sugar/ insulin levels. This scale is called the glycemic index (GI) the lower the number, the better off you’re. Take a look at the index below. It’s super easy to find the GI for any food by simply researching it online.
Buy protein – fat – carbs sources, in that order
It doesn’t matter if you work out on a regular basis or not, you need protein in your life for various reasons. Just like whole foods, buying protein-based foods basically guarantees you less foods that are high in sugar, still be careful though. I am telling you to focus more on protein than fat because the portions are going to be different. You need to eat more protein in comparison to fats to get the same number of calories, because fat will give you 9 calories per gram whereas protein only gives you 4 calories per gram.
Think about buying chicken, eggs, lamb, beef, turkey, salmon, shrimp or cod the next time you’re in need of an extra protein source. For vegetarians/vegans, think about buying tofu, tempeh, different types of beans and broccoli.
Sugar or sugar-based products (like soya sauce and honey) are not the only things that will make food taste good. Think about different spices, oils, vegetables etc. that can make food taste so good. Take the French or Spanish cuisine for example, all of their meals are rich in protein and fats and it tastes so good. What is better than a good combination of garlic, tomatoes, oregano and oil? It’s all super rich in flavor and very, very low in (added) sugars! And why not add spices to your shopping cart, what is wrong with those? I use spices (especially garlic and oregano) for every single meal I cook throughout the week. Make sure to add in spices towards the end of the cooking process, that will make the flavors stick better.
If you enjoy the foods that you’re eating while still supporting your lifestyle and goals there is no need to change things up. By mixing things up every single day you’re only increasing the chance to add in products that are not good for you or products you don’t even need. If you buy the same products on a weekly basis, you know what you’re getting in terms of nutritional value. I always say ” if your nutrition makes you feel good for a couple days in a row, you can be fairly sure that is not going to change. Find what works for you, what you like and stick with that.
Consistency will save you a lot of time and make you more aware of the money you’re spending on a weekly basis, because you don’t have to look at labels anymore plus you know what all the products cost.
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