Apart from health goals, we all have goals for our careers, financial life, and even relationships. These goals are expressions of our inner desires and what we want in our lives. Usually, we write these goals to make them more concrete and as a reminder to keep moving towards them.
When it comes to health, we have fitness goals and food goals. We want to lose or gain some weight, exercise regularly, eat healthier, and make good food choices. Losing weight can take months and exercising regularly can even take years before you achieve your fitness goals. Eating healthier on the other hand and making better food choices is hard to measure.
That’s why nutrition is considered a game changer, whether it’s about gaining muscles or losing fat. You simply can’t out-train yourself out of a bad diet. That’s because while it may take hours of relentless efforts to burn off calories, regaining them can take a few minutes. And all it takes is bad eating habits and an unhealthy daily routine.
Healthy Eating Habits to Achieve Your Fitness Goals
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to healthy eating. And it doesn’t help that new and contradictory diet advice is always emerging. But despite that, the fact is that the basics of eating right will never change.
In this article, we’re going to clear up the confusion that people have about how to eat well while on a fitness journey. Here are 6 healthy eating habits to take note of.
Eat a Lot of Fruit and Vegetables
It’s recommended that we eat at least 5 portions of fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. You can choose to go for frozen, fresh, canned, dried, or juiced fruits and vegetables.
Getting your 5 A Day is not as easy as it sounds, so why not buy a banana over your breakfast cereal? Or how about swapping our usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit? 80g makes for a portion of fresh, canned, or frozen fruit and vegetables. When it comes to dried fruit, 30g counts for a portion and it should be kept to meal times.
You can also choose to have a 150ml glass of fruit or vegetable juice. Alternatively, you can make a smoothie or a meal replacement shake. You must, however, limit the amount that you take because having more than one glass is not good for your teeth.
Vegan shakes are a great way of getting all the nutrients that your body needs. That’s because they provide you with the same nutrition that comes with meal replacement shakes. They’re also packed with protein and other vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling full.
When looking for the meal replacement shakes, you must ensure that it has the necessary nutrients to keep you healthy. Protein is an important part of any meal replacement for busy people. So look for shakes that have 10 – 15 grams of plant-based proteins.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
It’s true when they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What makes it important is that it helps to kick start metabolism. It also improves cognitive function and helps you to make better food choices during the day.
Unfortunately, some people skip breakfast thinking that it will help with weight loss. The truth, however, is that a healthy breakfast that’s high in fibre and low in fat, sugar, and salt makes for a balanced diet. It will help you to get the nutrients that you need for good health.
A whole grain lower sugar cereal, for instance, with semi-skimmed milk and a fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and very healthy breakfast.
Reduce Your Intake of Processed Foods
Not all packed or pre-made food is bad for your fitness goals. But, you must remember to read the nutrition labels so as to choose wisely.
Ideally, you should gravitate towards healthy options that can make nutritious cooking easier. Such options include frozen vegetables and canned beans. It’s recommended that you skip the meals that are usually in a box because they’re loaded with preservatives, hidden sources of fat, and a lot of sugar.
Eat Meals with High Fiber Starchy Carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrates are supposed to make up over a third of the food that you eat. That’s because starchy foods are our main source of carbohydrates and as such, they have an important role to play in our fitness journey.
Foods like potatoes, bread, rice, and cereals are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients. A lot of people think that starchy foods are fattening. The truth, however, is that gram for gram, these foods contain fewer than half the calories of fat.
One thing that you should keep in mind though, is to watch out for the added fats when cooking and serving. Because that’s what can increase the calorie content.
To ensure healthy eating, you should also ensure that you go for higher fibre or wholegrain varieties. These include whole grain pasta and brown rice or potatoes with their skins on. They contain more fibre and they can help you to feel full for much longer.
Eat More Fish
Fish is a good source of protein and they also come with a lot of vitamins and minerals. Try to take at least 2 portions of fish in a week. Be sure to include one portion of oily fish.
Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats. These fats are good at preventing heart disease. Some of the oily fish include salmon, sardines, trout, and pilchards. The non-oily fish include:
Limit your consumption of saturated fat and sugar.
There’s no doubt that you need some fat in your diet. But it’s important that you pay close attention to the amount and type of fat that you’re taking.
There are saturated and unsaturated fats. A lot of saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood. This can in turn increase your risk of developing heart disease.
On average, men should only have about 30g of saturated fat and women are advised to only take 20g a day. Saturated fats are found in foods like fatty cuts of meat, hard cheese, sausages, butter, and cakes.
Thus, you should try and eat less saturated fat and instead choose foods that have unsaturated fats like avocados. For a healthier choice, use small amounts of vegetable or olive oil. When buying meat, choose lean cuts.
When it comes to sugar, regular consumption of foods that are high in sugar increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks are always high in energy and can lead to weight gain.
Free sugars are the types that are added to foods and drinks. Others are found naturally in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies. These are the kind of sugar you should be cutting down instead of the sugar found in fruits and milk.
Achieving your fitness goals isn’t easy and you can feel discouraged at some point. To stay on track, break down your healthy goals into smaller but realistic steps. Ensure that the steps are easier to measure and track on a weekly or monthly basis. This way, you’ll be able to see progress. That is what will help you to stay motivated.
We believe that these 6 healthy eating habits will help you in achieving your fitness goals. All the best on your fitness journey and stay healthy.
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