How you look is largely influenced by what you eat. Lack of muscle mass, high body fat, lack of energy at work or at the gym, bad skin, digestive problems…all of these are most often caused by unhealthy nutrition.
Since there is a lot of confusion about what to eat and why, here are 7 simple nutrition rules that will help you build muscle, lose fat, and get stronger.
1. Eat Breakfast
You will have energy from the first hour of your day and it will help you avoid those mid morning hunger pangs just as your day is getting busy. Eating a good breakfast also sets the tone for the rest of day. You tend to eat healthier if your day starts with a strong & healthy breakfast.
Healthy breakfast recommendations — Eggs, Smoothies, Oatmeal, Multigrain Cereal
2. Eat Every 3 Hours
Those who live an active lifestyle with regular workouts, tend to eat 6 small meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, post workout, pre bed and 2 snacks in between.
This has two important benefits:
- Less Hunger. Eating more and smaller meals vs. few big meals will decrease your stomach size. You’ll feel full faster.
- Less Cravings. Not eating for long periods usually causes overeating at the next meal. Or worse, you end up giving into junk food cravings.
Eat at a fixed time every day and your body will get hungry at those fixed times. Example: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm, 7pm & 10pm.
3. Eat Protein with Each Meal
You need protein to build and maintain muscle. Protein also helps fat loss since it has the highest thermic effect. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy required to digest and process the food you eat. Protein also makes you feel full longer than carbs.
How much protein should you eat daily? For adults the recommended intake of protein has been calculated at 1 gram per kilogram of weight per day. The protein requirement has been calculated at average male weight of 60kg and female weight of 55kg. The easiest way to get this amount is to eat a whole protein source with each meal.
Read: 10 Ways to Get Protein without Eating Meat
4. Eat Fruits & Veggies with Each Meal
Most of them are low calorie. You can eat fruits and veggies till your stomach is full and not gain an ounce of fat, or weight. Fruits & veggies are also full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, which help digestion.
Make sure to include these nutrient packed fruits & veggies in your diet: Apples, Berries, Pineapple, Oranges, Bananas, Spinach, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Beans, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, Roman Lettuce, Chicory, Peas, etc.
Read – 5 benefits of a High Fibre Diet
5. Eat Healthy Fats
Don’t be afraid of fats. Not all fats are created equal. Our bodies need fat — more specifically, they need healthy fats. From lowering bad cholesterol and helping shed excess weight to giving you shiny hair and healthy nails, healthy fats pack quite the punch. They also satiate, digest slowly, and are economical. Eat healthy fats with every meal and avoid artificial transfats.
We recommend – Avocadoes, Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6. Drink Water
Strength training causes water loss through sweating which can impair muscle recovery. Drinking water doesn’t just prevent dehydration, it also keeps hunger at bay.
Drink 1 glass of water first thing on waking up, 2 glasses with each meal and sip water throughout the day. Always carry a water bottle with you when you work out or plan to spend long hours outdoors. Another great way of hydrating is by drinking herbal teas.
Read: QNET’s Relaxation Guide to Unusual Herbal Teas
7. Eat Whole Foods at Least 90% of the Time
Whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined foods that come as close as possible to their natural state. Examples: fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, legumes, rice, oats, quinoa.
Processed foods usually contain added sugars, transfats, nitrates, corn syrup, sodium and harmful chemical additives. None of these are good for your body. If you are eating healthy 90% of the time, you can indulge in the occasional burger and pizza guilt free. Same with alcohol & sweet drinks. If you are balancing your meals with the 90-10 rule, the 10% indulgence will let you give in to your cravings without leaving any significant negative impact on your body.
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