Tips to Improve Nutritional Habits

23 Comments

Andi Singer writes freelance about nutrition and health for IHMOnline.com. She is a personal trainer who went through her own body transformation, losing more than 60lbs and building muscle, strength, and confidence.

I don’t like the word “diet”. I have been on diets, and they never work for me. I’ve always had more luck focusing on small nutritional changes than on cutting calories, carbs, or fats. Here are a few changes you can make to the foods you already eat that will help you stay fuller longer and keep on track with your weight loss goals.

Nutritional TipsTip #1 Get More Protein

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of protein for weight loss, building lean muscle, and health in general. Protein is filling and lower in calories per gram than is fat. Upping your protein to .75g-1g per pound of body weight will increase your energy and satisfy your hunger.

I try to eat around 130g of protein at the body weight of 150lbs (about .85g per lb of body weight.) This ratio allows me to build lean muscle, reduce body fat, and have the energy to train 1-2 hours, 6 days a week.

Andi’s Favorite Protein Sources: Chicken breast, eggs, peas (dried, frozen, or fresh)

Tip #2 Get Quality Fats

I haven’t yet mentioned it, but I am a competitive fighter. In fighting, you are matched up by weight and gender, and the night before the competition you are weighed to make sure that you and your opponent match up evenly. I normally weigh around 150lbs, but I prefer to fight at 145lbs, so the week before the event I reduce my calorie and carb intake temporarily so that my body does not retain any extra water.

I normally eat 2000-2400 calories a day, and in this phase of my preparation I reduce to around 1600 calories. I struggle with low energy and irritability when I am hungry, so I have to find creative solutions to fill me up. When you have to limit your carbohydrate intake, there is no better fuel than fats. Fats with a little bit of protein fill you up and give you a long-lasting energy boost.

Andi’s Favorite Fat Sources: Nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews), coconut oil (can be added to oatmeal, soups– even coffee!), dried edamame

health_litTip #3 Change Things Up

Eating the same things day after day gets boring and can reduce your chances of weight loss success. This is where the common “cheat meal” often comes into play. Many people try to eat well 6 days out of the week, and on the 7th day they indulge in one of their favorite meals.

I’m not suggesting that you eat the exact same thing 6 days a week, but eating relatively healthy all except one day a week will help you keep your overall calorie intake under control while also allowing you to eat the foods you love.

An alternative way to do this is to have a small treat every day. If you eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, there is no harm in having a small candy bar, a cup of hot chocolate, or a handful of potato chips.

Andi’s Favorite Nutritional Split: 80% healthy; 20% whatever you want!

Tip #4 Make Easy Swaps

Another way that I alter my diet is by making easy replacements. This morning I was out for much longer than I expected and did not have the opportunity to cook my lunch, so instead I stopped by the grocery store and ate a pear and two nutritional bars.

If you are on the go but do not want to eat fast food or skip a meal altogether, just piece together something quick that fits within your nutritional goals. You will want to find a multiple-item snack that meets your calorie, carbohydrate, fat, and protein needs.

Andi’s Favorite Meals-On-The-Go: 1 scoop whey protein in water, an apple, and a 99¢ almond pack; bagel, fat free Greek yogurt cup; hummus and pretzel pack, beef jerky

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Love these tips! I’m definitely with you on the whole “diet” thing. It’s all about balance and eating all the proper foods without depriving yourself of some indulgences every once in a while. Thanks Andi for reaching out to me to do a guest post and again, congratulations on the weight loss!

I’ll be back tomorrow for WIAW! :-) 

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What are your nutritional tips for better health and/or weight loss?
What are your favorite protein sources?
What are your favorite meals-on-the-go?

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23 thoughts on “Tips to Improve Nutritional Habits

  1. I totally agree with the 80/20 rule! I actually have a post coming up about it this week so check it out if your interested ! A tip I would add is drink water drink water drink water! It’s so important to get in at least 64 ounces if not more!

  2. Great post – and Andi, you sound hard core and amazing!

  3. These are great tips! I know that when I’m even thinking about a diet I suddenly want all the foods I think I shouldn’t have. The 80/20 helps with that! I also agree with you about the protein helping you feel full.

  4. “Washoku” traditional Japanese cuisine was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list Wednesday, raising the government’s hopes of enhancing its global recognition, attracting more foreign tourists and boosting exports of the country’s agricultural products.
    This is “Washoku,” traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese!-

    HOLLY差さんへ、いつも感謝!!感謝!!です。
    Rypma

  5. I definitely agree that deprivation is never the way to do it – I was just trying to explain that to a professor of mine who’s currently dieting! And Andi, the fact that you’re a competitive fighter is just badass ;-)

  6. I’m going to be controversial and say you don’t need that much protein if you’re goals are endurance sports and maintenance. I eat a lot more protein now that i’m training for physique and building muscle, but before that I ran my fastest marathon & first ultra (and felt GREAT) on about .5-.6 grams per pound body weight. :) I do agree with watching your nutrition and planning your meals to meet your goals though!! :)

    • Great point! I guess a lot of depends on what you’re training for and what your bad needs to refuel. Thanks so much for sharing Heather!

    • I agree that you don’t necessarily NEED that much protein. It is good for building and maintaining muscle, and I find that it is personally useful trying to lose weight just because it does fill me up faster.
      Thanks for the input!

  7. Great tips! Quality fats is such an important one! My biggest problem is not planning ahead and then eating too little or unhealthy and then too much later in the day!

  8. My best tip is to eat a diet centered around fruits and veggies, AND eating a quality breakfast that is about 20% of your daily calories. My favorite protein sources are beans, tempeh, cottage cheese, greek yogurt and high quality meat! On the go: fresh fruit and veggies, pb sandwich!

  9. Diet is a scary word. I think small changes are 1. much more attainable and 2. less scary! It’s important to focus on the little things first.

  10. These are great, easy, helpful steps to take!
    Protein does keep me fuller longer.
    Favorite sources? Grilled chicken, flavored protein powder, greek yogurt. :) Yum!

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