Nutrition can make (or break) any training program. Here’s our top tips on how to make sure you’re fuelling all those gym gains directly from your kitchen.
The food that you eat will be the number one obstacle when trying to achieve your fitness goals. Whatever your diet plan, Paleo, vegan, low-carb, high-protein, consistency will be the hardest challenge. (After all, there’s a reason they call it the cheat day.)
Diets are often overly complicated and make it unrealistic for most people to follow them. It’s actually not that hard to see results from a diet, but it is hard to stick with a particular diet and to maintain consistent results.
That’s why we’ve created this guide for you. Stick with these realistic steps and you can expect a healthier metabolism, more energy, more muscle, less fat, increased testosterone and more importantly, a completely different mentality when it comes to eating.
Reflect before you start
Before you read any further, ask yourself: What are the last three “bad” things that you ate? When was the last time you tried a “diet”? Why did it fall apart? These problems will come up again and again if you don’t fix them now; most hurdles in fitness are behavioural problems that need to be altered. Your last diet most likely fell apart at one of three stages of eating: buying the groceries, preparing your meals, and eating your meals. Here’s our top tips on how you can kick those bad habits into touch, and start with some good ones.
How to prioritise grocery shopping for healthy eating
This is where it all starts. If you’re the person buying the food for your kitchen, then try these strategies.
Go to the supermarket after the gym.
You’ll feel motivated to keep up with all the hard work you just put in by buying the best options for your body. Just try to get some food in your system, because…
NEVER shop on an empty stomach
This will shut up that voice inside your head that tells you to buy those amazing-looking Oreos. Shopping when you’re hungry triggers your cravings for fast, satisfying food, and that can spell the end to an otherwise careful diet plan.
Make a shopping list
Stick to basics and add or rotate one new snack/meal a week to switch things up. Don’t know what to get? Start with the nine foods that should be in every diet.
Use a basket instead of a trolley
It should be all you need. If you have the storage space for buying in bulk, prioritise the really healthy foods that you know you’ll be eating every day, such as chicken breasts, fish, healthy vegetables, and of course, protein powder.
Plan your route through the grocery store
Avoid aimless wandering, it’ll make you susceptible to temptations. You’re on a mission every time you go shopping so get in, and get out, without any unnecessary distractions.
Shop the perimeter
Most of the food you’ll need, like produce and fresh foods, is normally on the outside border of the supermarket. Avoid the snack and processed food that usually poison the middle of the store.
Don’t be fooled by marketing buzzwords
Make sure you understand what the different marketing terms mean. Just because something is “natural,” “diet,” or “whole wheat,” don’t assume it’s healthy. Focus more on good healthy foods that you can eat rather than ones that you can’t.
How to cook healthier
You’ve just had a long and stressful day at work and the thought of cooking seems horrible, so follow these strategies to avoid the path of fast food.
Prep your meals for the week
Remember how grandma made a big pot of chicken soup on Sundays so you could eat leftovers throughout the week? She was on to something. Prepare your meals for the week ahead, and get in the routine. It won’t feel like “dieting,” and it’ll save you the effort of thinking about what the hell you’re going to eat every day.
Measure out your nutrients
Calories can sneak up on you with portions that are larger than you think. Use the nutrition facts to your advantage so you know how many macro-nutrients such as carbs, fats, and proteins etc. go into your body. That’s not to say you should count calories, but you should balance out your consumption to make you get enough protein (for building muscle) and fats and carbs (for energy).
Don’t eat boring, but watch your “flavour enhancers”
Some of the healthiest meals can be ruined by things you put on to make it taste better, like salad dressing (loaded with fat) or barbecue sauce (packed with sugar). Find healthy alternatives like spices and herbs, which don’t add any fat and sugar, or a low-calorie hot sauce.
How to eat healthier
You’ve bought and prepared your healthy meals. Now it’s time to enjoy!
Take your time
Take your time to eat your meals, don’t rush the food down your neck as fast as possible.
Enjoy your food to avoid eating faster then your mind can register it being full. It takes the body and mind about 20-30 minutes to acknowledge you’re satisfied.
Eat with your non-dominant hand
Use your other hand to slow you down.
Build your support group
Focus on the relationships with the people you’re eating with by enjoying good conversation. Talk about your struggles and triumphs with trying to reach your goals. This will slow down your eating and get your mind right to stay focused.
Drink plenty of water
Your beverages should have zero calories. Coffee is okay, as long as you focus on healthy additives.
Follow the 80% Rule
Eat until you’re 80% full whether you leave a couple of bites on your plate, or do so by lowering the portion size during meal prep time.
Enjoy small meals
You should be eating small meals throughout the day to avoid overeating binges.
We hope you like our tips on healthier eating for men, if you have some tips we’ve missed here, or that you would like us to know about, then please share them with us in the comments below.