by Aimee Wojtowecz
When it comes to your nutrition, you will always hear us preach about healthy habits that build into long-term sustainable nutrition BUT if you’re looking for something you can do today, as in right now, to help improve your nutrition here are three tips to get you started!
1. ADD Vegetables!
Vegetables should be the cornerstone of your diet (“diet” as in what you eat every day, NOT “diet” as in temporary fix). Current guidelines recommend 5 per day, but as someone with a background in Functional Nutrition the range for optimal health is 9-13 servings a day. If your plate is lacking color, start with just one serving, and when that gets easy add another and another and another. Try all the vegetables, find different ways to prepare them, and different herbs and spices to flavor them. The only bad vegetable is a rotten one. Vegetables provide so many important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that you just can’t get anywhere else. If you really don’t like vegetables and can’t find a way to get them, add fruit!
2. ADD Fiber!
Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate and most people don’t get enough of it. In fact most Americans average around 15 grams per day. Ideal intake would be about 25-35 grams per day for women and 35-45 grams per day for men. There are two types of fiber. The first is soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, chia seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, and blueberries. The other is insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include whole wheat products (especially wheat bran), quinoa, brown rice, legumes, leafy greens like kale, almonds, walnuts, seeds, and fruits with edible skins like pears and apples. If you increase your fiber intake just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!
3. ADD Protein!
Protein is the building block of muscles so if you’re looking for bigger, stronger, faster muscles then you need to be consuming adequate protein. I would recommend 30-40 grams per meal and at least 20 for snacks. Not only does protein contribute to muscle building and recovery but protein is also involved in regulating hormones and enzymes throughout the body. In a pinch, protein can be converted to glucose and be used as an energy source but it’s not very efficient and also means that protein will not be used in the other jobs it’s really needed for.
What did you notice about these three tips? The common theme here is ADDING to your diet. Adding more nutrients will keep your body working at its best and help you get the most out of your performance in the gym.
What can you add to your plate today?