1. Plan ahead
This is the first tip for a reason; all the other rules depend on your ability to plan ahead. Without doing so, you may resort to quick decisions like – say… having fast food for breakfast. Next thing you know, you’re grabbing high carb, high sugar processed foods all day long because that’s what’s available and your whole plan to eat healthy today is going down the toilet. You can prevent this from happening. When you know that you can potentially have a busy day coming up, pack a bottle and have your meals and snacks ready in your lunch box the night before. There are plenty of insulated lunch containers that you can order online. If you absolutely cannot get into prep, there are quite a few healthy meal delivery services out there, some of them also have nutritionists that can help you with your meal plan. You do have to spend a little more for that option.
This one should be a no brainer but as a trainer I find it surprisingly common for people to not get enough water. Even more surprising are the people that tell me they don’t like the taste of water. Really? That’s almost like saying ‘I don’t like the smell of fresh air.’ It makes no sense to me. In any case, it is important to stay on top of your water consumption throughout the day. Start your day off by drinking 300-350 ml of water (or 10-12 oz). Then, take a reusable bottle along with you so you have something to drink from throughout the day (stainless steel, BPA free or glass bottles are safe options). Be sure that you are consistently consuming water all day long. The amount of water you need to consume is going to depend on a lot of factors; men generally need more than women, larger and muscular people need more than thinner people, when you workout make sure you consume an extra 500ml per hour and 200ml before and after, hot days require more water etc. Your personal needs can range anywhere between 2.5L and 6L or even more depending on all of these factors.
3. Avoid sugars
It is very promising to see how aware people have been about the dangers of sugar consumption. The problem is that they can be hiding in many foods, especially when you eat out or get pre packaged foods. Consuming high sugar foods will not only give you a spare tire, it can also start to dehydrate you as well as cause a crash in your blood glucose which will make you crave more snacks. As a general rule: avoid processed foods, condiments and grabbing take out regularly (even the so-called ‘healthy take out’ places. Lots of hidden sugars.)
4. Fat is your friend
I really have to emphasize this: dietary fat is not the enemy. A lot has changed about the way we think of nutrition since the 70’s. On top of providing hormonal support, fat keeps you feeling full for longer periods and is also the fuel source your body relies on for the majority of the day (when you are performing low intensity activities.) Nuts like almonds or walnuts provide a substantial amount of healthy fats and are very easy to pack, keep at your desk and in your bag.
5. Pack a protein bar or two
This is a rule that I would have avoided making if the quality of protein bars haven’t improved in the past 5 years. Now there are a wide variety of low sugar bars with no artificial sweeteners (be vigilant and read the labels to make sure you get the good stuff). You can even get them with high quality New Zealand Whey or vegan protein as well. Nowadays making sure you get your protein with every meal has become very convenient.