Hey, we have good news for you: Making progress with your nutrition doesn’t require a complete overhaul. In fact, it’s probably in your best interest to make smaller changes. They’re easier to stick to, meaning you’re likelier to make progress. Instead of trying to do a complete 180 with the food you eat, test out these small but powerful nutrition tips instead.
Psst! If this is a new topic for you, you’ll love our blog on beginner nutrition tips for building muscle.
9 Nutrition Tips That Are Easy to Implement
1. Eat Your Protein First
While it’s always tempting to reach for other foods first (hello, french fries), try prioritizing protein. Every cell in your body uses protein, and it’s vital for repairing your muscles in between training sessions.
For your main meals, this might mean chowing down on chicken, fish, or turkey before diving into the sides. For high-protein snacks, consider:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese
- Turkey slices
2. Always Have Water in Front of You
You know the saying: Out of sight, out of mind. As many as 80% of Australians might be dehydrated, and we get it: When you’re getting through a hectic day, the last thing you’re thinking about is drinking water.
But if you always keep a full glass/bottle in front of you — maybe at your desk — then you’ll be far more mindful of it. You can even set reminders on your phone that’ll nudge you to take sips from it throughout the day.
3. Don’t Totally Eliminate Anything
The one exception here is foods you can’t eat for health reasons. We’re not talking about that.
We’re talking about eliminating foods because they’re “bad.” Everything can be part of a balanced diet. Completely depriving yourself of specific foods will only make you crave them more. This is largely why crash diets don’t work. They demand too much from us. In fact, some research says that only 25% of dieters successfully lose 20 pounds. Only 5% are able to lose 40 or more pounds. And, here’s the real kicker, more than 90% of them gain the weight back in a short period of time.
Food isn’t inherently evil. You can eat the donut.
On that note, be sure to check out our blog on nutrition myths that need to go.
4. Get Protein in Every Meal
We touched on this already but want to elaborate: Every time you put food in your mouth, there should be protein. Why? Simple. It helps keep you satiated and will also help curb cravings. Plus, as we’ve already discussed, your body really needs it (in addition to the other two macros, mind you).
5. Be Present When You Eat
It’s not only what you eat but how you eat it. Instead of eating in front of the TV or while you’re on your phone, put all the electronics away and focus on the plate in front of you.
When you’re distracted, you end up finishing the meal and feeling like you didn’t even eat anything. But if you’re mindful and in the moment, you can enjoy the experience and leave feeling satisfied.
6. Taste the Rainbow
No, not Skittles (although if you enjoy them, grab a few!).
This is one of our favorite nutrition trips because it’s so easy to remember. Try to add a little color to your plate with the produce you eat. Sink your teeth into orange bell peppers, crisp green cucumbers, and sweet red apples.
“Eating the rainbow” is a simple way to get more vitamins, minerals, and fiber on your plate. And speaking of fiber…
7. Eat More Fiber
The American Heart Association reminds us that fiber is important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, as well as fighting off heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. We know that fiber is important, yet as few as 5% of us meet our daily needs. This can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, weight, and — *ahem* — your trips to the restroom.
Here are some foods that’ll help you sneak in more fiber.
- Split peas
Pro tip: If you’re not sure how much fiber you’re getting on a daily basis, you can use an app like MyFitnessPal to log your food and better gauge where you stand.
8. Follow the 80/20 Rule
We’re not big on “rules,” but this is a good one, so we’re including it in our list of nutrition tips. Being healthy and making gains isn’t about being perfect. Perfection is an illusion. It’s about being consistent.
That’s why we’re fans of the 80/20 rule: Aim to eat healthy 80% of the time. Give yourself room to indulge the other 20% of the time.
Many professionals will tell you that this is a good rule of thumb because it’s realistic and sustainable, and it’ll still give you amazing results.
You do not need to be 100% “perfect” 100% of the time. What does that even mean, anyway? (Answer: Nothing. It means nothing.)
9. Get More Sleep — Seriously
Huh?! What’s this doing on our list of nutrition tips? Let us explain.
According to the Sleep Foundation, when you don’t get enough sleep, it messes up your body’s release of ghrelin and leptin. These are neurotransmitters that tell your brain when to eat. A lack of sleep can lead to overeating and reaching for less-than-nutritious foods before healthier alternatives.
Plus, as a side note, you probably don’t need us to remind you that sleep is absolutely vital for your recovery. This is when your muscles rebuild and grow stronger. Just throwing that out there.
Listen, you’re doing great. Progress over perfection. It’s about making small, positive changes each day. Try out these nine nutrition tips — maybe focus on one at a time — and we’re confident you’ll feel stronger, happier, and more alive.
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