Diet and nutrition have become more and more popular over the past few years. It can seem complex and confusing. The truth is it’s not, eating real food and keeping it simple is the easiest way forward.

1      Cut out the processed food

This is probably the number one thing you should be doing. Unfortunately because we now live in an environment of convenience we are fine tuned to look for the quickest and easiest option. This translates into how we choose what to eat. Walk into any shop, stick out your hand and the likelihood is that it will land on some form of edible product in plastic wrapping. The likelihood is that it is also not good for your health or waste line.

The problem is that manufacturers have realised this and have got smart with how they promote products. “Healthy for your heart”, “Low Sugar”, “Low Fat”, “Natural” the list goes on and on and on. They put all kinds on packaging to convince you that what is inside is good for you. The reality is that they’re not. They’re just as unhealthy as they always have been. If the package has colors on it that will likely glow in the dark… Don’t eat it.

Junk food is readily available
Junk food is readily available in today’s shops

We’re all grown-ups, we know the difference between a natural food source and a processed one. If it has ever grown, ran, breathed, reproduced or had any other function to self-sustain itself then it’s probably good for you. Eat it. Those breakfast biscuits that you eat in the morning have never ran anywhere. So, the chances are that they’re no good for you. Don’t eat them.

2      Eat actual food

A lot of “nutrition” plans out there suggest you should ingest all of your intake in liquid form. Just stop and think about this for a minute. Your body has parts specifically designed to process food, specifically designed to break down what you swallow. These haven’t just popped up overnight. They’ve been there since day one and by drinking your intake for the day you’re ignoring these. Would you put anything other than liquid fuel in your car? No, because it wouldn’t work and it’s not designed to process it. Therefore, why would you do the same to your body. Why would you make liquid fuel  your main food source when it is designed to process solid, real food?

Sweet Potato is real food
Look for real food sources that have grown such as sweet potatoes

There is a place for shakes in your diet, but this should only be to supplement your diet. Drinking shakes should assist in meeting your nutritional requirements NOT make up the bulk of your diet. The whole “I lose/gain weight when I drink more shakes so it must be good for me” concept is rubbish. Don’t do it. You will lose/gain weight by consuming less/more than your daily energy requirement. I promise you now that you could eat only sugar for a year and lose/gain weight. That is provided you eat an amount of sugar that gives you less/more energy than your daily energy requirement.

For some reason people think you have to avoid food to manage your weight!? This is insane. Don’t do it. You will lose/gain weight by eating real food. Just eat more or less than you require depending on your goals. Do it. One UK blogger who shows how eating real food can also be fun is That Squat Bot.  There is some amazing real food that’s good for you and healthy on her page.

3      Get some balance

So, you’ve cut out the crap and bought something that once grew. Now you just need to get each type of food group on your plate. When you make each meal make sure that you have some carbohydrate (Veg count as carbs), some protein and some fat.

Balanced Meal healthy food
Aim for a balance of food groups when making your meals

If you hammer the protein in but neglect getting some fat and carbs for energy then you’re likely to feel like rubbish. Don’t do it. Furthermore, if you don’t get a good mixture of food groups then it will affect how your body absorbs what you eat. Different diets suggest different nutrient quantities, but to keep it simple a good starting point is to focus on getting a bit of everything. I bet your 90-year-old Granddad didn’t worry about the percentage of protein to fat per meal and he’s doing just fine.

This doesn’t mean meals have to be boring. You can create some great plates of food using real food with a good mix of ingredients. People run a mile if you suggest olive oil on their salad but have no source of fat on there. Mix ingredients and try different combinations. Some will work and some will taste awful but still, do it. You will likely be more satisfied and feel better for it afterwards.

So to keep it simple, aim to get a protein, carb and fat source on your plate for each meal. Once you’ve managed to nail this then perhaps look to mix it up with a specific type of diet. Fitness on toast has some great creative ideas that fit into your lifestyle.

4      Water, drink it

  Your body is mainly made up of water. You can go a few weeks without food but only a few days without water. With diets, so many people get caught up in the food they eat thinking this is the only area to focus on. This isn’t true, water is one of the most under utilised sources of nutrition out there. Think about when you aren’t feeling great, one of the first things people say is “make sure you drink lots of water”. There is good reasoning behind this. Water can help flush your system out, it helps keep everything moving through your digestive system. In addition, it keeps other bodily functions firing as they should do, drink water. Do it.

Water drink lots
Keep drinking water, it’s the foundation of our bodies

Now linking back into point number 1, don’t be fooled the different “Healthy waters” that you see on the shelves. Water is water. The best type of water you can get is plain old water. As a substance it occurs naturally, so consider how it becomes “enriched” or “healthy”. Somewhere along these enriched waters have had something added to them. They are no longer in their natural state. No matter what the claim on the label, the fact is that if water is anything but plain it is unnatural and has been altered.

This one is pretty simple, drink water as it comes. Do it. Stop falling for the marketing of brands who claim to have improved water. They haven’t.

Keep things Simple

That’s pretty much it, 4 simple things to bear in mind when choosing your next meal. It doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. You just need to be honest, listen to your body and make some good choices. Do this for the majority of the time and the odd time you do indulge it won’t make any difference.

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