Do you ever think about what you eat throughout the day?
Most of you will scoff and say ‘WELL OF COURSE I DO.’
Before you lose your shit, let me say that I’d definitely agree! I’m super happy to see that more and more people are getting conscious about what they eat on daily basis. Sometimes it’s because they feel the pressure to eat healthier to look better, but sometimes it’s just because they want to feel good in their bodies and that’s absolutely amazing.
No matter what your motivations are, counting what you eat throughout the day might not be the easiest task. How do I know how much protein I need? How do I know which fats to choose? How do I know how many calories in this iced coffee?
If you’re a bodybuilder you got this all figured out. You know everything about it as your life revolves around making sure you fuel your body with the right types and amounts of foods at the right time.
For anyone else, anyone who thinks this is some sort of magic, don’t give up just yet. There are still some guidelines you can follow in order to get your nutrition to another level without tracing every single calorie that you consume.
We’ll start with dividing the food you eat into 4 categories:
- Protein (4 kcal per 1g)
- Carbohydrate (4 kcal per 1g)
- Fat (9 kcal per 1g)
- Alcohol (7 kcal per 1g)
Surprised about the last one? I bet most of you are. Almost no one expects number 4. Please, please, PLEASE note that it’s there just to raise awareness (not for you to start including it in your daily intake.)
You can straightaway see yourself that fat and alcohol are higher in calories. What does that mean? Exactly what you think it does- you should be more aware when you consume either of them. You also know that they are both liquid so it’s easier to eat or drink a lot without feeling satiety.
There is a quick fix to this- think of your meal in terms of having everything you need- protein, carbohydrates, and fats (not necessarily alcohol though.)
Build your meal around protein- it’s the building block of your body. No matter who you are, what you do, how much energy you need, or what type of lifestyle you live. You. Need. Protein. This can come from various sources- meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, dairy, nuts, supplements, etc. We’ll make it around 1/4 of your plate.
Once you have a decent portion of protein you can then think in terms of carbohydrates. These would be pastas, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, fruit, bread. Let it take up about 1/4 of your plate, just like protein.
Protein and carbs in place- time for some veg. You’re correct here again- vegetables are classed as carbohydrates but here we’re talking about veg that is low in calories so you don’t really have to count them- spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, kale, green peas, asparagus. These will provide you with micronutrients you need (vitamins and minerals) which are crucial in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Get those to fill up the remaining 2/4 of your plate.
Now what about fats? Well, if you’ve used fat to prepare your meat, you’re fine. Fries? Got fat there already. Any sauces with fat in them? Thought so. It’s one of the most important things to keep an eye on as just a spoon of fat can add over 100 calories into your meal. One bloody spoon! These add up quick and a fatty burger with fries on a night out can have around 40-50g of fat itself. That’s 360-450 calories in fat only! Sick!
However, if you haven’t used much fat to prepare your food- drizzle some olive oil on it, add half an avocado to your meal, add some nuts for flavour. Stick to the healthy fats (you can find more info on those in one of my blogs) and you’ll be sweet.
Everyone should follow some sort of a guideline when thinking about the food they eat throughout the day. Plan it, there is nothing wrong with it. Preparing some food in advance is a great practice too. See what fits your lifestyle and needs and work with it.
Most importantly- make a commitment to be more conscious of what and how much you eat. Once you do that, keep going. After a few days or weeks you’ll notice how your mind switched and how much attention you pay to what you eat. You’ll start telling other people that their food is too fatty or it lacks a solid protein base.
Although it might sound annoying, it’s perfectly fine. You’ll be spreading awareness and you never know how many people you can influence in a good way. That’s what it’s all about!
Take care of your body. It’s the only one you’ve got.Damo PT (and hundreds of other people too lol)