November 21st, 2010 by Digestive Detective
There are plenty of fads, diets, and pre-packaged meal plan options available out there, yet obesity is on the rise. Why? Simple. Diets don't work. Fads fade. Meal plan options are only temporary and become expensive over time. Sometimes we make nutrition more complicated than it really is. Here is a simple 3-point plan for optimizing your daily nutrition:
1. Frequency - Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the course of the day helps improve your metabolism and prevents dramatic swings in your blood sugar levels. These swings can lead to times of scarce eating coupled with binges, uneven energy levels through the day, and can result in your body becoming more insulin resistant which inevitably leads to weight gain and fat storage. Aim for 5-6 small meals approximately every 3 hours (ex. breakfast, AM snack, lunch, PM snack, dinner). Plan each meal in your schedule so you make time and actually follow through.
2. Quality - This is by far the most important component to your nutrition both in terms of achieving optimal health and maintaining a healthy weight level. Eat a base of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, fish, nuts and whole grains. Be sure to include some form of protein and fiber with each meal. Avoid processed and packaged foods. Plan ahead, and make your own snacks and lunches to take during the day to avoid eating out and if you do stop at a restaurant or fast food spot, make healthy choices.
3. Quantity - This is the area that most people focus on primarily, and although important, the key is that if you follow the first two principles, you don't have to worry as much about the quantity. This does not mean that you eat everything in sight until you are stuffed - it simply means that if you focus on fresh, nutrient-rich foods, as opposed to calorie-dense, non-nutritive foods, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about total quantity because the foods are spaced out throughout the day and are comprised of healthy, mainly lower, less calorie-dense options. You still want to control portions to some extent, but you can eat lots of fresh veggies, fruits and proteins and maintain healthy nutrition and weight!
Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, FDN is a personal trainer and lifestyle coach as well as a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist. He is the founder of www.digestivedetective.com – a comprehensive health, fitness and training website that provides articles, podcasts, fitness videos, webinars and customized online training/coaching for individuals seeking to improve the way they feel, function, look and live.