A nutritious diet is not rocket science. There are many different diets available for people to follow. Some are good, others are not so good. Here are eight nutritional tips that I could give to just about every client who asks about diet. They are basic concepts which are easy to follow and maintain in the long term.
1. Base meals on starchy foods.
Contrary to popular belief carbs are not evil. Well they can be evil if you eat too many of them, just like protein, fat and other nutrients can be if consumed in large quantities.
Complex carbohydrates are a very important energy source for the body. They are needed to help build the non-essential amino acids which the body uses to create proteins. Carbs are also required for the body to build cartilage, bone and nervous tissue.
Good choices of carbohydrate include wholemeal bread, brown rice, lentils (my mum will be proud of me here) and wholegrain pasta.
2. Eat lots of Fruit and Vegetables.
Fruit and veggies provide us with a broad range of vitamins and minerals. Variety is the key here. We recommend 4-8 servings of vegetables per day and 2-5 Servings of fruit.
Remember that salads are a great way to get some veggies onto your diet. 1 cup of salad equates to a serve of veg.
3. Eat more fish.
Seafood is delicious and super nutritious. Aussies generally eat more chicken and red meat than dietary guidelines recommend and too little seafood. Studies show that eating fish twice a week reduces the risk of heart disease.
Try not to eat the same type of seafood all of the time. Some fish such as tuna contains higher levels of mercury which can build up in your system if you eat it too frequently. Pregnant women should also avoid certain types of seafood.
4. Reduce your saturated fat and sugar intake.
This one is the no-brainer. Saturated fat and simple sugars tend to be added to foods that we all know are unhealthy. Cakes and lollies are nice to have as an occasional treat but most people tend to just eat too many of them.
If you have a real sweet tooth, why don't you start by reducing the amount you eat. Instead of a whole pack of Tim-Tams, try to cut your binge down to half a pack. Instead of eating that gigantic piece of banana bread, share half with your coffee date.
5. Eat less salt.
Our bodies need salt to function healthily. Sodium controls the amount of water we store in our bodies. It also is needed to transmit nerve signals and control blood pH balance.
Sodium tends to be the one mineral that people naturally overconsume as it is often added to processed foods and snacks.
Instead of adding salt to your dinner, why don't you try experimenting with some other jars in the spice rack.
6. Set realistic weight loss goals.
It is important to set realistic goals if you are trying to loose weight. Gradual weight loss is generally much easier to maintain in the long run. I generally set weight loss goals of half a kilogram per week for my athletes and clients. Although it doesn't sound like much, that is a goal of 25kg weight loss in a year for tho