There is so much contradictory information out there when it comes to food and it can get frustrating to navigate. Here is the important stuff. When following these rules, you will find that calorie counting may become obsolete. Similar to exercise, when you eat well, the weight will come off. Think about the quality of calories you are consuming. For instance, a diet soda does not provide the same nutritional value as green tea, nor does a processed 100 calorie snack pack give you what a banana and lil bit of peanut butter would. And when it comes to restrictive diets, ie, low carb, no meat, etc, they are not for everyone. Find what works for you. Finally, make slow, gradual changes. You will make more strides at the end of one year then you would if you were to overhaul your diet overnight.
• Eat natural, whole foods with color and variety. Stay away from processed foods with little nutrients.
• Eat 4-6 smaller meals everyday. Portion size can be approximated by the size of your hand.
• Eat breakfast every morning, within one hour of waking up and stop eating about 2 hours prior to bedtime.
• Drink primarily water throughout the day. Sodas and juices are high in sugar and low in nutritional value.
• Take a multivitamin.
• Cooking should include baked, grilled, steamed, broiled, light sauté or raw.
• Fiber: Try to get about 35 g of fiber from your diet daily. High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
• Protein: The rule of thumb for active individuals is to eat the same grams in protein as body weight. This decreases with less activity. Lean protein with less saturated fat is recommended.
• 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruits and 2 cups of fresh vegetables are recommended daily.
• Whole grains are heart healthy and recommended over processed grains and flours.
• Food label no-no’s: High fructose corn syrup, fortified, enriched, or unbleached, trans-fat.
• The Great White Killers: rice, sugar, salt, flour
• Avoid Alcohol.
• Anything can be enjoyed in moderation (moderation is subjective and can be defined from once a week to once a year).
• The general rule for nutrition is to view food as fuel for the body and seek foods that will be high in be high in nutrients to help maximize the body’s health and performance.
• If you don’t like a particular food now, keep eating it. Your taste buds will change.