Eating healthy should be simple, tasty and maintainable.
There was a Sun Herald article published a while back now, “My Day on a Plate” of a celebrity chef which detailed an extremely healthy, but incredibly complex, daily intake including cultured vegetables, alkanised water (even I had to go google that one) and activated almonds. It sparked a massive tweetfest and prompted me to write this article and I thought I’d share it with you today.
Now, yes, this way of eating is healthy, and no, there is NOTHING wrong with eating like this, BUT it is also totally unnecessary.
There are many ways to meet your daily nutrient goals and all your strategies to achieve this need to be easy, effective and suited to your personal lifestyle. If this doesn’t include making on your own almond milk or “activating” your almonds by soaking them for 12-24 hours, baking them at low temp for 12-24 hours and then storing in an airtight container in the fridge, that’s ok. Cow’s milk from the fridge(or UHT even!), and almonds from the bulk containers at your local fruit and veg store are packed full of nutrients. Plenty, of more than adequate, nutrients.
Here are three tips for cutting through the minefield of “information” on eating healthy.
- Get the basics right. If you don’t eat two pieces of fruit daily and 2-3 cups of three different coloured vegetables daily, start here. Don’t get 2-3 serves of calcium rich foods daily like low fat dairy/soy milk or yoghurt? Or a total of 20 different “nutrient rich” foods (that does NOT include the biscuit/rice cracker in your hand by the way),a day? If no, then this is where to focus your attention first.
- Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Remember that yes, red capsicum may speed up your metabolism, or activated almonds may have a higher nutrient content, however (and this is the important bit) if the impact is not significant then the food may not be that “special” after all. Nothing wrong with red capsicums, they’re delicious, but they don’t speed up your metabolism enough to help you actually lose weight. Accredited Practising Dietitians are a great source of scientifically proven information, so if an APD or associated websites like www.daa.asn.au or www.sportsdietitians.com.au disagree that coconut oil is the next big thing, they are probably right.
- Don’t feel guilty for using some tinned or packaged foods as part of your healthy intake. Sure the less numbers on the ingredients list the better, but if it means you have a pre-training snack rather than skipping or going for a nutrient empty food (like biscuits) or an inappropriate training food like a boiled egg (great protein source but ZERO fuel for training) than your body is going to be FAR better off and training will more productive. Here is one of my favourites;
220g Heinz creamed rice. Ingredients: Rice, low fat milk, vanilla and sugar. Provides lowGI carbohydrates for training, ¼ of your daily calcium requirements, is low fat and a good protein source. All in a convenient, non perishable, non squashable, non leaking container.
The bottom line is, enjoy a wide variety of foods from all food groups and keep it simple to maintain a healthy intake that suits your lifestyle. If you’d like to include “specialty” foods like activated almonds or kefir, that’s great, but don’t feel you have to.
All the best everyone for Easter and stay fuelled!
Advanced Sports Dietitian