Food…everybody loves food.
So, Lets start off with peoples ideas of food. We have some people who think about food as a comfort, some people who think food is only for fuelling the body, some people think that food is just a pleasure and some people who truly enjoy tasting every different kind of food and see it as a hobby.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you’re wrong, because who’s to say that I’m 100% right? I honestly believe that it encompasses all of the above. Watching what we eat is important, as we need food to fuel our bodies for what we are putting it through on a daily basis. Of course, we have to let ourselves enjoy food and taste different things and see what we enjoy, however, we do need to learn and get into the habit of not overdoing all the bad (tastes really good) stuff.
Sugar is a huge problem in today’s world, with so so many foods being rammed with the stuff in order to keep you addicted. Its my number one thing to watch out for when you look at what you are eating. Natural sugars such as the ones we find in fruits, I’m not too worried about, but its all the artificial stuff, the refined sugars that we find in doughnuts, sweets, ice cream and so on that is the dangerous stuff and will end up making us overweight.
Macros.. What are they? Macros (or Macronutrients) is a breakdown of the main components in food. So we have Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Lets go over each, shall we?
PROTEIN (4 kcals per 1g) – Protein is a hugely important part of our diet for many reasons, including the ability to repair and grow muscles. A couple of examples of foods high in protein would be chicken, turkey, beans, chickpeas and eggs. (Not all of protein has to come from meat sources for all you anti vegan/vegetarians out there, they can build muscle just as well as meat eaters). Another source of protein which is very common in the fitness industry is obviously your Protein shakes. These are a great source of protein, especially if you are struggling to hit your macro targets or need something just to top it up. (I want to point out here that it is more than feasible to get everything your body needs through food alone).
If I were to recommend any protein to anyone, it would be from The Protein Works. I personally go for Whey Protein 80 as it is roughly 100 kcals per serving give or take depending on the flavour and around 25g of protein, 2g of fat and 2.5g of carbs and there are a great choice of flavours.
CARBOHYDRATES (4 kcals per 1g) – Everyone loves to pick on these next two in their own ways. Carbs are a vital source of energy for our body and its the brains main source of energy. They provide us with glucose which is then converted to energy. It is important that we get carbs from the right sources as the quality of the carbohydrate does matter. You can get a bunch of carbs from your donuts, your sweets and sugary drinks, and obviously these are not the best sources to be eating. We should try and choose less refined sources such as white bread, french fries and white pasta and instead replace them with wholegrain options such as brown bread, wholewheat pasta, sweet potato and quinoa.
So some tips on carbs…Try eating your most carb dense foods earlier in the day and then limit the carbs in your last meal or two (if eating more than 3 meals a day).
Don’t cut them out, we need them to get through tough workouts and push us through the day.
FATS (9 kcals per 1g) – Fat gets such a bad name in the world of food. You see so many companies advertising that products are fat free, low in fat or reduced fat, but what they often for get to tell you is that they are in many cases rammed full of sugar to compensate the flavour your missing due to drawing out the fat. We just need to be eating the right sources of fats. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) are a great fat source for fuelling the body and giving us lasting energy to work from. This can be found in coconut oil. (try using this to cook will instead of other oils). A great source of monounsaturated fats are found in Avocados, and they are very satisfying.
The last important thing i would say must be included in your diet is good ol’ h20. We need water for us to function correctly and it is involved in many processes within the body. Aim for about 2L a day to start with and add fruits to them to give them some flavour if you find water is a bit boring, or take it straight from the fridge…..water is glorious when its super cold!!!
To track foods that I eat, I use the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone, it is super easy to use and has a huge data base of stuff already logged onto its systems. I recommend this to all my clients to keep a track of your food, as its so so easy to forget to count something you’ve eaten in your day. So we can track our foods using the app and try and hit a break down of our macros with common splits being something like 30/30/40 – Carbs/Fats/Protein. When working with clients however we can go into more specific details and get a more accurate figure.
To finish off here are 3 meals with Macro breakdowns for a little inspiration.