One of the biggest factors in a successful fitness or weight loss program is what you eat. Why? Because food is how you fuel your body. You can work your butt off in the gym, but you can't out exercise a bad diet.
Here are 5 simple tips you clean up your nutrition to start seeing results:
1. Avoid overly processed, boxed, and packaged foods
Boxed, packaged, and processed foods contain many additives and not so good for you ingredients. These can wreck havoc on your gut, lead to inflammation, and can pack on the calories. You end up with a smaller quantity of food with a much higher calorie value while being low in nutrients. Start by cutting out soda, candy, and dinner in a box meals.
2. Eat protein with every meal (such as eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, steak, pork, etc)
Protein is critical to your body's ability to maintain or grow muscle, and helps control your appetite. Eating protein helps your body focus on burning and losing fat instead of eating away at muscle. Find protein sources that you enjoy eating and learn new ways to prepare them!
3. Eat veggies with every meal (including breakfast!)
Veggies are a fantastic source of micronutrients (minerals, vitamins, etc.). For breakfast, try adding spinach, bell peppers, or mushroom to eggs to make a scramble or omelet. For snacks, try cut up carrots, celery, snap peas, and bell peppers.
4. Stop eating fast food and limit eating at restaurants to once a week
When you prepare and cook your food, you're more aware of what you're eating and more likely to make healthier choices. Fast food is full of calories but low in nutrients. It can be addicting, and can cause you to overeat.
5. Limit dessert to once a week
Dessert and treats aren't bad in and of themselves, but when you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve performance, aim to limit your sugar and treat intake. A good rule is to limit treats to one serving once a week. When cravings hit, try drinking water or tea, eating veggies or a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit.