If you are just beginning your health and fitness journey, you may be a little bit confused about where to start with your nutrition (and who can blame you!). There is so much information out there these days from magazines, internet articles and of course Instagram! A lot of this content can be contradictory however, so starting your journey can be tough. I am here to give you my top tips on eating a wholesome and nutrient-dense diet! A
s many probably know, I live a plant-based lifestyle. When transitioning to this I took care to ensure that I was meeting all of my micronutrient needs, this included seeking out plants high in iron and B12! If you are making this transition, or have already made it, then try to include some of these foods in your diet regularly:
• Leafy greens
• Nuts and seeds
• Nutritional yeast
• Fortified breakfast cereals
Even if you are not plant-based, my biggest nutrition tip is to ensure you are getting a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and plants in your diet. By eating the same few food sources every week, we are likely to be missing out on many important vitamins and minerals!
Although all plants are very healthy, they will still only have a few certain benefits. Therefore by eating AS MANY as you can, you will have a better chance of getting all the nutrients that you need. I was once stuck in a rut, where I habitually cooked with the same ingredients every week. It can be difficult to expand your plant repertoire, however, I suggest trying to include 5 new and different fruits, vegetables and/or legumes into your diet each week. In a month’s time, you will have expanded your intake by 20 plants and countless nutrients! This is also a great way to keep your meals interesting and exciting. Research the best and most delicious ways to consume these new options so that you are enjoying everything that you create. Try this delicious recipe! When choosing your proteins, once again make sure that you are getting a great variety. If you are plant-based, don’t think that you will have trouble consuming enough because there are so many plants out there packet with protein! My favorites include – I find a lot of my clients come to me afraid of carbohydrates and/or fats. Just remember that these are nutrients that our body needs to function, and cutting either of them out will serve no benefit to you! Carbs are our main energy source, so if you want to smash your workouts and get through your days with enough energy, then ensure you are consuming adequate amounts. If you workout then you may find that you need a little bit extra.
Fats are essential for protecting our organs and regulating our hormones, not to mention they tend to keep us feeling more satisfied and full for longer!
If you’re wondering what the best sources of these macronutrients are, think about eating as natural (and least processed) as possible.
Carbohydrate sources –
• All vegetables
• All fruits
• Grains (rice, quinoa, oats, barley etc)
Fat sources –
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Sesame oil
• Nuts and seeds
Consuming foods that are not as natural, or a little more processed, does not necessarily mean that you are ‘unhealthy’. In moderation, these foods are completely fine to consume and tend to be associated with social events or a Friday night in (in other words, SOUL FOOD!). I like to approach my diet with 80/20 in mind. This means to eat 80% whole foods that will fuel my body and help it to recover, while the remaining 20% is that soul food that everyone needs from time to time.