You've all heard that regular exercise and a healthy diet are part and parcel of staying fit. However, it seems that the idea of fitness nutrition is, more often than not, subordinate to exercise. What does this mean? There seems to be the mistaken notion that it's okay to eat anything as long as you burn it off afterwards. Not! This is one of the biggest lies ever propagated where fitness nutrition is concerned.
The aim of fitness nutrition is to give your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong, fit, healthy and energized throughout the day. With this in mind, it's also imperative to fill our diet with foods that give us this kind of nutrition. Eating for health requires that all food groups be represented. Remember the go, glow and grow foods your grade school teacher spent hammering into your head? Well, food groupings haven't changed much. You still need your proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. That means you need to feed your body with fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, dairy, whole grains and cereals. That means going natural with your food choices as well.
But that's not all there is to eating for heath. It also means eating in moderation and at the right times. Too much of anything is bad, so don't get too caught up in the high-protein low-carb diets. They only wreck havoc on your normal body processes. Eating healthy means eating the right amounts from all food groups in small portions five to six times a day. This also means not skipping breakfast. When your mother nearly force-feeds you to eat this most important meal of the day, she wasn't kidding. If you don't eat, you're starving your body and preparing it to snack on more sugar-rich and unhealthy junk later in the day.
What if you do feel the need to snack during the day? Opt for fresh fruits like bananas, pears or apples. They're chockfull of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Yogurt is also a good alternative. Not only is it rich in calcium and protein, it also has live Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria that's good for the digestive system as well.
Does that mean that all fast food is off-limits? That would be ideal? However, it's not necessarily a no-no for as long as you watch your portions and you don't do it often. But where soda is concerned, you'd do best to avoid it with your cheeseburger meal. Ask for water instead. Fruit juice? Unless you squeeze it from the fruit itself, forget it. Processed juiced drinks have more sugar than juice and you're better off with pure water.
Fitness nutrition also means minding how you eat. It's chewing your food well and taking the time to enjoy your meal for at least 20 minutes. It's eating when you're hungry, not because you're stressed or emotionally upset. It's stopping when you're already full. Finally, eating for health also means learning healthier ways of preparing foods. You need to learn how to cook foods through steaming and stir-frying instead of deep frying them. It also means stocking your pantry with healthful foods.
Eat healthy. Live healthy. That's the real essence of fitness nutrition.
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