The word ‘Nutrition’ is thrown around a lot. And can often sound intimidating, and complicated. To put it simply Nutrition is basically your diet. What you eat, and what nutritional value you’re providing your body. Think of it like this: A diet is what you eat each day, whereas nutrition is the collective name for goodness within the foods we eat. Such as vitamins and minerals.
Making it simple
When we mention our diet, everyone seems to become some sort of nutritionist, or dietician. It is very easy to get confused with people saying eat this and that, and people on the internet saying don’t eat this, and you defiantly can’t eat that. It’s frustrating, and can easily leave you thinking ‘Well what can I eat?’.
Whilst it may take you a while to tailor your diet to your specific needs, there is a simple guideline as to where everyone should start in regards to their diet. Check it out:
When to eat
Firstly, you should NEVER skip breakfast. Your morning meal is by far the most important meal of the day. It kick-starts our metabolism early in the day, in addition to providing energy until our next meal.
You should try to eat at least 3 meals a day. One in the morning, one at lunch time, and one in the evening. You may also have a couple healthy snacks in-between meals. This basic guideline ensures that we’re fuelling our bodies regularly throughout the day.
If we go too long in-between meals (6-7 hours) it can hinder our training as the muscles aren’t receiving sufficient proteins to continue the process of growth and repair.
As your training progresses, you may develop a need for more calories in your diet. In this case you may add another meal into your diet. Which is okay. However if you’re unsure where you stand, or you’re not training particularly hard, then 3 meals a day is the place to start.
So, what should I eat?
Hands down the biggest dilemma with diet and nutrition is what to eat. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what to eat. That ones up to you. Although I can tell you what should be on your plate. Take a look:
The eat well plate:
This is the eat well plate. A government scheme that was launched years ago in an attempt to improve people’s diet. It tells us how much of which food group we should consume on a regular basis. And it is still very relevant today. SO here is what your diet should look like (Roughly):
- 35% Fruit and vegetables
- 35% Carbohydrates
- 20% Proteins (eg: Meats, fish, and eggs etc.)
- 10% Dairy and alternatives
- >1% Oils and spreads etc.
Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Now although you may consume more calories and food than the average person, the ratio on your plate should remain the same. Only the quantity will increase. Simple right?
But, how many calories should I consume?
There are dozens of methods, and equations out there to figure out how many calories you should consume daily. Honestly? I wouldn’t worry about it. Our bodies are smart, and have the ability to adapt to our energy needs. Just eat when you’re hungry. It’s that simple. If you’re following the eatwell plate, and not consuming too many empty calories, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You’re hardly going to overdose on vitamin D.
However, if you’re struggling to build up an appetite, then you should still aim to eat at least three basic meals a day.
Now this is a term that I only recently became familiar with. And it’s very important.
So what are empty calories? Empty calories are basically calories (Food) that contains no nutritional value. Therefore, when you eat these foods you’re providing no nutritional benefit to your body whatsoever. These calories will either be used as a quick energy source, or be stored as fat. Not ideal.
Here are some examples of the foods I’m talking about:
- Microwave meals
- Sugary sweets
- Fatty foods (lots of fast foods)
- Ice creams
You get the idea… It’s okay to treat yourself from time to time, although empty calorie foods should have no place in your regular diet.
In conclusion, diet and nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Ensure that you eat regular meals throughout the day, with occasional snacks in-between meals. When planning your meals, always refer to the eat well plate as shown above. Although it is a fairly basic scheme, it can be very effective, and provides a guideline for when you’re unsure. Finally, just be aware of empty calories, as we want to get as many vitamins and minerals into our diet as possible.
Nothing goes with a solid diet, better than a strong workout plan. Check it out: