Real Results Start with Consistency
Health and Fitness Specialist, Emily Mailloux
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you can’t out work a bad diet.” Here at 50/50, we have a wide array of group fitness classes, strength classes, personal training, and opportunities to be active out in the community. Unfortunately, even if you’re taking full advantage of these options every week, if your diet isn’t where it should be, you may be struggling to see the results you hope for. While exercise is important for many reasons, most body composition changes don’t occur until you start to make lasting changes to your nutrition. It’s a crucial piece of your overall health and wellness, and one of our most important focal points here at 50/50. Here’s how to approach a healthy diet that will support your exercise routine without driving yourself crazy.
First, prioritize protein. Make sure that you’re getting protein with every meal. Healthy protein sources include poultry, fish, lean beef and pork, eggs, beans, and dairy sources such as cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and milk. For a handy reference guide, look no further than your own hand. Men should aim to have two palm-sized portions of protein at each meal, and women should have at least one palm-sized portion per meal.
Next, add your vegetables. US dietary guidelines recommend that you fill half your plate at each meal with vegetables or fruits. Try to get a wide variety of vegetables each day – dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash, and red and orange vegetables including carrots, tomatoes, and peppers. Be creative with your veggie choices! Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and onions go great in an omelette or with your morning eggs. Add lettuce, tomato, or sprouts to your sandwich at lunch, or have a big salad with lots of different veggies and protein on top. For dinner, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower roasted with olive oil and a little salt and pepper are a great addition to any meal.
The US dietary guidelines also recommend that half of your daily grains come from whole grains. Whole grains are present in either their whole form or are ground into a flour, without losing any part of the seed. These grains are higher in fiber, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and other important nutrients than refined grains, which have finer texture and longer shelf life. Some of the best sources of whole grains that should be a part of your daily diet include brown rice, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, oatmeal, and whole wheat breads. When shopping, be sure to look for whole-grain breads, cereals, or crackers instead of refined grain options. Try cooking barley, bulgur, or brown rice with your protein and vegetables for a balanced dinner, have oatmeal, bulgur pancakes, or whole-grain toast for breakfast, and use whole-wheat bread or wraps for your sandwiches at lunch.
Finally, getting an adequate amount of healthy fats in your daily diet is an important part of balanced eating. Between 25-40% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconuts, and oils. Some of these fat sources will also come from animal sources, such as the fats found in dairy products, eggs, fish, and meats. Avocados or almond butter on whole grain toast make great breakfast options, add sunflower seeds or olives to your salads, snack on raw almonds or walnuts, and cook with olive or coconut oils whenever possible. Eating healthy fats will help you feel more satiated, provide energy, protect your organs, and help your body burn stored body fat.
Last but not least, drink your water! Maintaining an adequate level of hydration throughout the day is crucial for your organ health, immune system, energy levels, and fat-burning, among many other benefits. To get started, drink a minimum of ½ an ounce of water for every pound of body weight, and add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes you spend working out. Gradually work on adding more water throughout the day until you are closer to one ounce per pound of body weight.