Are you trying to eat healthy and get your summer time beach body ready? While following a healthy diet that optimizes body composition is ideal, this isn’t always as simple as it sounds. It’s very easy to unknowingly consume extra calories while eating what society considers to be healthy foods. Take a caesar salad that you may substitute fries for while at a restaurant, often, the calories in that salad are equivalent, if not greater than the calories in many chocolate bars. However, counting calories shouldn’t be the sole focus of your diet as this won’t necessarily enhance fat loss, or result in a sustainable goal.
So, here are some realistic tips that can involve both healthy eating and toning your body simultaneously.
- Eat Protein For Breakfast. Studies have shown that people need to eat more protein (such as quality meat) at breakfast, and eat less of this at dinner. Spacing out protein intake throughout the day can help to keep you full which can result in making better food choices during the day. Eating a protein filled breakfast can also trigger protein synthesis and can allow your muscles to rebuild after having gone 8-10 hours without any food.
- Eat Fewer Refined and Processed Foods. Reducing your intake of refined and processed foods can help with both leanness and health, as it allows for more nutrition in the calories you consume. Choose meats like free run chicken rather than packaged salami for example. Junk food especially can result in overeating and craving of processed foods. Aim to eat quality meat that is often easily accessible through meat delivery and online orders, which can help ensure that the convenience of junk food isn’t your go-to excuse for choosing processed junk.
- Understand The Process of Protein Filled Foods. Foods high in protein have the greatest impact on reducing hunger and are important for both health and leanness. Above and beyond this, anytime you have a caloric deficit (necessary to lose body fat), your body enters a catabolic state, meaning it’s losing lean tissue and fat. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolic rate will drop and this is one of the main contributors to rebound fat gain. High protein intake spread over the day has been shown to offset some muscle loss, keeping your metabolism higher and maintaining your strength. High quality protein can also help manage blood sugar and insulin, resulting in decreased cravings for sugar.
- Incorporate Some Healthy Fats Into Your Diet. To burn fat, your body must be able to mobilize and use stored body fat for energy in addition to carbs. Choosing healthy fats are important. This can include, fish, grass fed beef, nuts and seeds which are largely unprocessed.
- Balance Protein with Fruits and Veggies. Once people focus on high-protein consumption, it is easy to forget about the fruits and vegetables, but these foods are extremely important for health. Fruits and veggies can help eliminate inflammation that is associated to high protein intake. Simply adding one fruit or vegetable to each meal can ensure that you’re consuming healthy carbs. Examples of nutrient rich foods include leafy greens, peppers, cherries, apples, onion etc.
- Eat Foods that Will Improve Digestion. Eating foods with fermented probiotics and plant foods can help to improve digestion. Foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables are great options to facilitate a lean body composition.
- Choose Non-Sugar Filled Beverages. The high sugar content of pop and sport drinks are well known. Choosing water, coffee or tea is an easy way to manage calorie intake while still staying hydrated.
- Avoid High-Fat, High-Carb Combinations. Consuming reasonable amounts of high-fat foods through cooking with oils or adding walnuts to a salad can be one way to incorporate healthy fats that are filling and nutritious. However, when high-fat and high-carb foods are combined which is the case in foods like pizza, ice cream and baked goods, you increase the fat storing hormones and quickly consume a high dose of calories with little nutritional value.
- Don’t Shy Away From Salt, Fat, Meat or Eggs. These foods aren’t the enemy for getting a lean summer body. That being said, the spin off processed meats and refined foods should be eaten in moderation. High quality meat and eggs provide necessary nutrition for cognition and physical functioning. While salt shouldn’t be added to every meal, it can enhance the flavour of home-cooked dinners and is a key part of healthy electrolyte balance.
- Practice Mindful, Healthy Eating Habits. Simple eating habits have been found to result in eating fewer calories while still feeling satisfied with your meal. For example, a simple change like eating from a small plate rather than a large plate can help ensure you don’t eat more than you really want/need and can this can subsequently reduce post-meal guilt. Getting into your own routine for healthy eating is important, whether this may involve saying grace before your meal or focussing on the food you’re eating, these type of habits can improve well-being and result in having a healthy relationship with food.