Basic nutritional tips

Eating well should not be too hard. With a few nutritional tips you can make those necessary changes and improve your quality of nutrients.

As a personal trainer focus has always been catered towards the strength, fitness and nutritional needs of my clients. I’m often asked by potential clients if I do food plans as part of the service. In Australia we as fitness professional not allowed to prescribe diets to clients, as we are not properly qualified in this field. We are not nutritionist. Best we can do is offer some reliable nutritional tips and educate our client on basic meal plans (protein, carbs & fat balance) while providing training services. What we can influence are positive habits towards food.

I work with clients from various backgrounds and just rolling out a generic “diet with less calories” doesn’t make a difference. Understanding the habits is a lot more efficient. Helping clients about portion control, processed food and working with any limitation they might have has a better impact than prescribing a rigid, unimaginative and boring diet. Rice and tuna anyone?

My goal with client when discussing weight management issues is to alter behaviours. As a nutrition and health coach my focus is to educate my clients on some positive strategies in how they eat. Most of the time people don’t know the basics and are lost with the ever-available information scattered all over social media. Some is great, some of it quite unnecessary or just silly.

With most successful endeavours starting with the basics is always the best approach. I’ll just go over the few that you have heard before. Collectively they have an enormous positive impact on you overall health and wellbeing. A proper weight management strategy should include most of these. We all eat differently so an understanding of the following can be adapted to suit.

Simple and basic nutritional tips to get you started. Learn a few and add on as you become more consistent with positive eating habits

Reducing sugar and embracing healthy fats should be included in any basic nutritional tip’s information.

Sugar in its many forms is also referred to as simple carbohydrates. Understanding the foods that you currently consume and becoming aware of hidden sugars is your first goal. This allows you to make an alternative choice when purchasing future groceries, in addition to making better choices when eating out. Nothing wrong with the occasional treat, just be aware of hidden sugars in these foods. When it comes to good fats they come from avocados, fish, extra virgin oil and Nuts. These are unsaturated fats. Overall, fats are in most foods we consume so an over consumption is what causes a variety of health concerns. Sadly, heart disease is the number one cause of deaths in Australia.

My view on fats is that with a healthy outlook with you can still enjoy them. As long as it comes from foods that you know and prepare. The occasional take away has a higher level of fat and is likely heavily processed. They area also a low-quality food. An over consumption in saturated fats will cause your LDL cholesterol to increase. A major risk factor in heart disease.

Eating whole grains

The positive effects are an increase in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also help in controlling your cholesterol levels. They will have a positive impact on weigh management. For some it will assist with lowering their blood pressure lowering the risk of diabetes. Complimenting this is the consumption of nuts that in moderation provide an excellent source of nutrients. Be aware that as dynamic as nuts are, they are dense in calories. So, the “small handful” suggestion is spot on.

Drink water and stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks 

Drinking water allows the body to balance its body fluids. Getting the balance right promotes better digestion and absorption of foods. Hence why it’s good to drink some with meals. Water will help with the transportation of nutrients after a meal. During physical activities it keeps you hydrated and during high exertions helps keeping the body’s temperature balanced. A bonus is that water has no calories so try to avoid drinking sugary drinks. Do you need those extra calories. Is your activity going to use up the calories in the drink. If you are running a 5klm run, do you need an energy gel? you certainly do if you are running 20klms. Most of us get enough calories from a balanced diet so don’t need the extra calories from sugar.

Enjoy a variety of fruits & salads and vegetables 

Many books have been written about fruits and veggies. With the abundance of vitamins, fibre and minerals you get, this one should be straight forward. A fundamental in any basic nutritional tips post is to get those vegetables in and fill up your plate/bowl. Similar with fruits, while it’s hard to eat as much as vegetables, my tip is to consume most fruits in its natural form. That is, don’t peel that skin off an apple as you are removing the fibre.

Try to avoid the fruit juices from the food courts. I get it, these look and taste great. Understand you are consuming at least 12 pieces of fruit on one go in liquid form. That is a lot of calories you are drinking. I bet you can’t consume all these fruits in one sitting. Why? is because of the fibre that fills you up. With no fibre you can drink and consume a lot more. This is fructose, great source of as a whole fruit, not as a drink.

Quality of sleep and protein for weight management are two basic nutritional tips that I now promote.

Get enough sleep

Getting quality sleep over the years has become the new goal people are looking at improving. With new technology like smart phones, apps and now running watches. All are now showing the consumer the benefits of quality sleep. My running sports watch requires me to wear my watch during sleep for it to monitor the quality of sleep and now my HRV (something that I’m learning about) The result of bad sleep has shown to be linked with feeling hungrier during the day resulting in overeating. It shows that the quality of foods is also diminished, not a great combination. Lastly it should be no surprise poor sleep is linked with a reduction in physical activity. That 8-hour mark now should incorporate quality of sleep.

Eat more protein

As an active older adult, the consumption of protein is high on my list. I’m not suggesting the overuse of protein powders, just ensure that you are eating protein with most meals if you can. Protein for me assists with muscle repair and energy. The other benefits are the management of diabetes, blood sugar balance and helping out the bloodstream in carrying oxygen throughout your body. From a general health point of view protein creates the antibodies helping a healthy body keep illnesses and infections in check. We are fortunate that in Australia we do not suffer from protein deficiencies in our food. Be aware that an over consumption will block you up and cause constipation.

A final work on my basic nutritional tips is to slowly learn what you need first in making you eat better.

Once you have a basic idea it’s a matter of putting it all together. When you are confident enough get cooking on a more regular basis. You will know what you are putting into your body and might end up eating out less. As a bonus you will enjoy eating a variety of meals and feel more energised. You can still go out though. This routine of approaching food will lead to a positive effect in avoiding any fad diets that will temp you with false promises and unproven methods.

From basic nutritional tips to more specific needs

Part of my role as trainer in relation to nutrition for weight management is to:

  • Provide basic dietary advice – for example advice based on healthy eating principles
  • Assess a diet – for example for its variety, quality of foods, the timing and portions
  • Assist with quality of foods – for example swapping unhealthy options for health options and working with a client to create a healthy eating lifestyle.
  • Allow you to reach your weight management goals.

Don’t be led by incorrect and unrealistic false advertising promising miracles.

Should you only require a more specific level of service different from the scope of weigh management you should consult a qualified Nutritionist/Dietician for a more detailed plan relating to your personal needs. Once you have an understanding of some basic nutritional tips you can then decide if you need more individual assistance towards your weight management and health goals.

A properly qualifies practitioner will be able to work and help you out and be able to be more specific with what is preventing you from reaching you nutritional goals.

In summary a balanced diet refers to the sum of all food and beverages consumed by a person. and includes dietary habits. A fundamental diet should be high in variety, wholesomeness (food made from whole ingredients or ingredients in their original form; for example, wholegrain bread) and unprocessed foods (such as fresh produce). Diets are highly individual, dynamic and adaptive according to the individual and their lifestyle – Cadence health.

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