Eating healthy is something that is incredibly easy to do, but also incredibly easy not to do. It does not have to be hard to eat healthy, but in today’s time poor society we have so many other things to worry about and it is very easy to put your own health and fitness further down on the priority list than it should be. In the previous blog we discussed common excuses and reasons for not eating healthy food. Today we will talk about some simple tips to making nutrition easy, the benefit of food prep and how social media has impacted the perception of food preparation.
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I am simply reflecting on my 10 years in the health and fitness industry and the learning’s that I have had over that period.
Simple Tips to make nutrition easy
Nutrition is crucial to success, and more often that not, regardless of the goal, what you eat will make up 70% of the result. If you do not have a really solid understanding of what you need to eat and why, you will always be fighting an uphill battle with your results. There is one thing that I always stress…“whilst nutrition is 70% of the result, it definitely should not take up 70% of your time”. So how can we go about making something that is so important, much easier and more efficient?
Eat regular meals! We want to get the metabolism working at a really fast speed. The faster that the metabolism is working, the more energy you can burn and the more efficient your body becomes at utilizing the stored up energy it has. Ideally we should be looking to have 4-5 meals throughout the day, of relatively the same size. This allows for the metabolism to constantly be burning at an efficient rate without overloading the system and causing it to slow down because there is too much food to break down. Combine regular meals, with a consistent training program and your body will respond by burning stored energy at a much more efficient rate.
Keep it simple!!!! Quite often the best meals are the easiest meals to prepare. Sure it is nice to have an amazing recipe that takes a few hours to cook, and by all means when you have the time to do that go for it, but if you are short on time, you need to have some quick and easy options ready to go at a moments notice. For example, smoked salmon with cottage chees on corn thins with fresh cracked pepper. 4 ingredients that if you have them in the fridge at work or home, you can put together in less than a minute and it is incredibly tasty. Remember, you don’t need to cook for hours to have a delicious, healthy and nutritious meal.
If you want to make healthy eating a long-lasting lifestyle change, you have to enjoy what you are eating. It is that simple. If you start this journey thinking that you have to eat the same meal each day, or you are eating food that you really do not enjoy because you are just thinking about the result that you are after, then eventually it will become incredibly difficult. This is when it becomes hard to eat healthy. With this all being said, I am not saying that you should go out and eat all the things you used to because they taste good, or eat unhealthy options. At the end of the day, a change must be made, but you need to learn and develop recipes and foods that you enjoy eating that will help you get to your results.
Tip: Think of 2-3 of your favorite meals and find a way to make them healthier. This way you feel like you still get to eat the food you love, but you also know that you have made them a healthier option.
This is a great way to safe guard your healthy eating. Having a few ‘emergency options’ available means that when you get stuck you have a healthy option ready to go. This requires some planning, but an hour or so once every few weeks is all that you need to do, and greatly reduces eating healthy being hard. For example, keep a few cans of tuna and some corn thins at home or work, this way you have an easy snack if you are too busy to stop and make something. Another options that works well is cooking and freezing some meals. This means that if you get home late and don’t have the energy to cook a dinner meal, you can just take a premade meal out of the freezer and reheat it in a matter of minutes. This also eliminates some temptation of take-away food!
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
This is a very simple concept that gets so incredibly over complicated. Planning is so crucial to success and often people get very overwhelmed by the whole idea of ‘planning food’. When I talk about planning, all I talk about is ensuring that you have a really good idea of what the upcoming week is going to look like and how it is going to be dealt with. Sit down on a Sat/Sun before you do a food shop and look at how your week is going to be. Do you have meetings at lunch, out for dinner? Once you have an idea of how the week is shaping up, you will feel a lot more confident in your ability to plan and execute a fantastic food shop, which in turn will lead to a great week of eating. Planning out your food does not mean that you need to cook and prepare every single meal for the next 7 days, which leads me to the next topic….
Food Preparation and Social Media
Social media is fantastic; it is such a brilliant way to stay in touch with people, to send a message to a broad number of people and a great way to develop a following. There is a downside to it though. More often than not the most influential people and the people with largest reach are also the top 1% of physically gifted and athletic people in society. Do they work incredibly hard to get to where they are? Absolutely. They have also dedicated their entire life to that pursuit and probably aren’t as reflective of the bulk of society who are trying to incorporate health and fitness into their lives, but are not dedicating every waking moment to health and fitness. There is a large gap between the top 1% and the majority of people who are looking up to them for advice.
When I talk to people about food preparation, the first thing I always hear is “there is no way I am going to cook and prepare every single meal for the entire week”. Yes, this is definitely a way to get some fantastic results, but is it the only way? Absolutely not.
Food preparation is all about making nutrition work best for YOU. It is that simple, and it does not make it hard to eat healthy, in fact it makes it easier. Some simple ideas to get some food preparation happening for you include:
- Make a salad base large enough to last 3-4 days and store in an airtight container. This means all you have to do is grab some and add some protein to make a nice meal
- Bulk buy meat. There are heaps of wholesalers these days and they are FANTASTIC. You can get really high quality meat at a lower than supermarket price, often they will have an onsite butcher free of charge and they have a wide variety of product. This means you can buy in bulk, save money and have heaps of different options ready for you in the freezer whenever you need it.
- Ready made snacks. There are heaps of different quick and easy recipes that you can make in advance that last a few days which means you have something quick and easy to grab. A few include:
- Mini frittatas
- Protein balls
- Home made hummus
- Protein muffins
These above recipes would take a maximum of 30 minutes to prepare and last for days. Make enough and you have options available all the time! Does that sound like it is hard to eat healthy?
- Pick and stick. Decide on a meal that you want to have for breakfast and have it for the whole week. Make a new snack option and have it for the whole week. Creating something new once a week allows for you to not only learn new recipes, but also takes care of many meals in a single hit. Not every meal has to be the same, but also not every meal has to be different.
These are just a few hints and tips that will allow you to take control of your food preparation without feeling like you need to prepare every meal for every day for the rest of the week. Just because someone on social media does it a certain way, does not mean you should feel bad about doing it a different way.
Eating healthy can be easy, and it should be enjoyable. Make it work by best suiting it to your taste and needs, if you are not quite sure how to do it, then ask for help, and remember that even the smallest changes in the short term can lead to a long term positive gain!
Next week we will be finishing up the topic of eating healthy by talking about costs vs perceived costs as well as detailing some quick and easy recipes.
This concludes our 3 part series discussing “is it really that hard to eat healthy?”. Overall I believe the answer to be….NO! It is not that hard to eat healthy, but you have to make it a priority, if it is not a priority then it will become incredibly difficult. Embrace it, enjoy the process, learn new things, enter it with an open mind and your body will thank you!
It does not have to be hard to eat healthy, if you do not want it to be.
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