Doesn’t it seem like nutrition and diet can get so complicated sometimes? Shouldn’t eating right be easier than this?
The truth is, it does not have to be so difficult.
We make it complicated by thinking we need more information when we probably already know the basics.
Simple Nutrition Tips
In this article, I am going to share five simple nutrition tips to help you start making positive changes in your diet.
When you keep things simple, it means that you are much more likely to:
1) Actually make a change
2) Stick with the change you have made
3) Build momentum so that you can make more positive change
Because when it comes to success (in fitness, nutrition, or in life) you need to create stepping stones for yourself.
If you think you are going to overhaul your life or your diet, it’s just not going to happen. Instead, you need to find small, manageable actions that you can implement quickly and effectively.
That is what this article is about. It’s about giving you a few simple things you can start doing today to get some momentum (and results) as you work toward your ultimate health and fitness goals.
So, here are the top five things you can start doing today:
Step 1: Palm-sized Portions
While measuring out all your food would be great for portion control, it is just not reasonable. Luckily you have two awesome measuring tools attached to you at all times...your hands!
A simple way to know if you are on the right track with your meal is if you have:
- At least one palm-sized portion of protein
- No more than one palm-sized portion of carbs
- 2+ palm-sized portions of veggies
The key here is to start by just looking at your current meals to see how you stack up. You probably are already close in at least one of these areas.
Once you know where you are, then make a few adjustments to your meals to move in the right direction.
Step 2: Water First
This is the easiest thing you can do to improve your diet...start your day with a tall glass of water.
It has been ~ 8 hours since your last drink of water, so it is important to re-hydrate. And since most people struggle to get enough water during the day, this is a good time to get a head start on your water needs.
Personally, I also like adding some lemon juice into my water because of all the extra health benefits of lemon. These include:
- Helping to control hunger
- Boosting energy
- Improving skin health
- Protecting your cells
- Decreasing bloating
- Supporting weight loss
It gives it a better taste too! Typically half a lemon into 16 oz of water is a good mix.
Step 3: Have an Eating Window
Most people do well with structure, which is why eating windows can be so great. To be fair, this does not work for everyone, but for many, having a designated start and end time to your food intake can make a big difference.
So, let’s say you set your eating window at 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM (I would not recommend a window any longer than 12 hours).
That means that you fit your meals into that window and before or after you eat nothing (and no caloric beverages either!).
If you would like to test out intermittent fasting, then just shorten your window. Usually an 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM eating window is a good place to start, but it just depends on your schedule.
If you are new to intermittent fasting, here is a quick overview:
- Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy to limit your eating window and give your body and digestive system time to recover.
- By not always having to deal with the digestive process, your body can focus on recovery. This leads to better digestion, improved immune responses, more fat burning, and more.
- Intermittent fasting has been linked to the following health benefits:
- Weight loss
- Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improved heart and brain health
- Decreased risk of cancer
- If you want to start, pick an 8 hour window that works for your schedule. If 8 hours is too hard, start with a 10 hour window and work your way down. Usually skipping breakfast is the easiest approach.
If intermittent fasting interests you, I would recommend you do some of your own research to find the approach that best fits what you are looking to accomplish.
With that said, you certainly do not have to do intermittent fasting, but you should still pick an eating window!
Once you have your eating window (let’s say it’s 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM), then you will want to pick your eating times. These should be evenly spread out. So in this example, you may want to eat at the following times:
7:00 AM - Breakfast
10:00 AM - Snack
1:00 PM - Lunch
4:00 PM - Snack
7:00 PM - Dinner
If you eat 3 or 4 meals per day, instead of 5, then you can adjust accordingly. This will help keep your diet very consistent, which is what your body wants more than anything!
Step 4: Plan for Emergencies
You can really get yourself into trouble when you find yourself hungry with no good options. This is why planning your meals will be important. It will force you to think about what you are going to eat, and when.
But even the best plans do not always work. That is why it is good to have some backup options.
If you are going out and are not sure if you are going to be back in time for a meal, bring a protein bar, nuts and jerky, or some other snack that is easy to carry.
If you are going to be out for a meal and can’t bring something with you, the next best option is having a few places in mind where you know you can go and get a meal that supports your goals.
The main takeaway is that it is important to stay in control of what you eat and not leave it up to chance.
Step 5: Small Plates
If you are just starting out and are concerned because you have trouble huffing and puffing your way through 60-second jogs, don't be so hard on yourself.
Very few people go skipping out the door and effortlessly complete a 10K. Most of us have to start at the beginning.
One way to make things easier on yourself is to focus on exercises which help you build a solid foundation.
What does this mean? Working on posture, low impact cardio, and lower body endurence in the gym.
When you focus on these areas, you will begin to notice that your speeds and distances are increasing as you continue to train.
And if you are not sure where to start...talk to one of our Los Gatos personal trainers.
We’ll help make sure you’re setting off on the right foot, avoiding injury, protecting your joints, and building your strength and stamina.
While these are simple steps to take, that does not mean you are going to be successful doing all of them at once. So when you first start making changes, begin with the easiest and build from there.
It is better to start small and succeed than go big and fail. Momentum is everything when it comes to long term changes, so do your best to just keep the ball rolling in the right direction, even if it means that you are not doing as much as you think you should.
Now if you think you might need some help in reaching your fitness goals, that is where we come in!
Right now, we are registering people into our 28-Day Kickstart Program where you will get the exact diet and exercise program you need while having a coach to keep you accountable to your plan.
In this program you will get:
- Full fitness and goals assessment
- Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
- A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
You can get the results you want, you just need a program that is right for you.
Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.