Getting to grips with all the tips and tricks of nutrition can be a difficult game. With so many opinions of what's healthy and what's not it can be difficult to pick the fact from the fiction. Eating a generic healthy diet can be the best option to start with, before you start to dip into the more complex dieting.
So here's my 6 step plan to preparing your self for the complexities of the nutrition world.
1) Get the right equipment- just like the gym your going to need a good set of tools to craft your body. I recommend that you buy these 5 things before you start.
- Weekly meal planning chart
- Set of food scales
- A variety of sealed tupperwear dishes
- A food diary (or normal pad of paper)
- Good sized water bottle (750ml+)
It's important that you have all of these to keep yourself more organised, when your organisation starts to fall apart your nutrition does too. You need to get into a good habit of planning and preparing your meals each week so you don't DE-RAIL and reach for the chocolate and biscuits.
2) Do your maths! Believe it or not, nutrition is all about science and maths. But don't worry it's not as hard as algebra. Your body uses the food you put into it everyday to function and putting unhealthy products into your system will result in an unhealthy body!
So doing your maths, what I mean by this is your going to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), this is the amount of calories your body burns everyday WITHOUT any exercise at all! Believe it or not but your body each day is burning calories whilst your sat on your butt. Your BMR will give you a good guideline to how many calories you should be eating everyday. Eating above this will result in weight gain and eating below it will result in weight loss.
To calculate this number you can either use the calculation below or visit bodybuilding.com via this link: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bmr_calculator.htm and use the calculator to get an accurate measurement
3) Portion Control. One of the main issues with nutrition is that people eat more than they NEED to their eyes are bigger than their bellies and they serve large portions of "healthy" food and don't even realise that their "healthy" food isn't that good when eating they are eating three times the amount they need. Each person should be eating a certain amount of proteins, carbs, fruit and fats a day but knowing these numbers can be difficult to determine. I use an American website that calculates the specific amount of each food category you need per day http://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx this website will specifically calculate the amount of each food category you need PER DAY this will enable you to divide the amount for each meal and portion control each meal.
This is a good time to bring out the food scales. When you start portion controlling measuring your ingredients precisely so your EYES know how much you should be plonking on your plate! Once you've started to get to grips with portion control and how much of each food category you should be eating you can begin to put the scales to one side.
4)Create a food list. This food list will help you increase your ingredients diversity. On a piece of paper make 5 columns. In each column write the 5 headings (Starchy Carbohydrates, Protein, Vegetables, Fruit and Healthy fats) then using Google or your brain under each Column write as many ingredients from that category as you can think of e.g carbohydrates = potatoes, rice, pasta. Then after you have wrote as many ingredients as you could under each column use a highlighter (or circle) all of the foods you eat regularly. This will help you identify which foods that you aren't including into your diets also the ones you SHOULD be including. Each week you should be trying to include these into your diet spreading your diet variety and allowing your body to intake new vitamins and minerals.
A weekly task of yours should be to try eat 3 new ingredients from your food list.
The food list will also help you later to find recipes dependant upon a particular food category.
5) Using your meal planner! Set aside some time on a Sunday afternoon to plan your meals day by day from Monday to Sunday.
Designing your meal plan can be a difficult and long process but following a simple template meal plan can help you start. I base my meals around this guideline...
Breakfast: Slow energy releasing carbohydrates (large quantity of daily allowance)
Snack 1: Fruit (full daily allowance)
Lunch: Protein (small portion of the daily allowance, carbohydrates (small quantity) and vegetables
Snack 2: light carbohydrates to get you through till dinner!
Dinner: large amounts of protein and vegetables with a small serving of carbohydrates
Based on this and using my food list I select ingredients from the correct category and look for recipes using Instagram, recipe books and bodybuilding.com and place them into my meal planner until each snack and meal is filled in the chart.
6) Be organised, this is where your tupper wear dishes come into play. Cook/prepare your meal the night before and store them in the fridge for tomorrow. Place each meal into a separate tupperwear dish. You can even label them if you want! If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail the more organised you are the easier nutrition and dieting becomes.
Following these 6 tips will get you quickly on the road to become nutrition king/queen. You can never be too ready, too organised or too precise. Nutrition is a tricky game and I have to admit I can find it difficult to stick to myself. But never give up because these habits will stick and you will be on the road to success