Everyone has holes in their diet somewhere and can benefit from the biggest nutrition tips.
Unless you’re being locked in a cage and fed only by your nutritionist, chances are there’s room for improvement. If you’re trying to gain weight and you’re not a huge fan of meat or fish, there are ways to keep your protein levels up. Meanwhile, some people never grow out of that childish problem with accepting that life requires you to eat vegetables.
So, with these and other common diet pitfalls in mind, here are a few diet hacks to counteract common, natural but detrimental impulses with regards to achieving a lean, fit physique.
#1 Problem: Not Enough Greens
It’s always amazing how some people who are extremely fit looking individuals still don’t eat enough of the nutrient dense foods necessary to achieving lasting health. What’s the point of working out if you’re going to sell your body short by living off of carbs and protein without the greens and veggies to round out a balanced diet.
Ultimately, by ignoring or downplaying critical nutrients in exchange for flooding your body with massive amounts of protein and carbs to fuel exercise you’re accepting limitations on your long-term health outlook. It’s as simple as that.
For some time now, the kale craze has been on. What was a vegetable few people talked much about just a few years ago, has become one of the most popular cruciferous vegetable—and for good reason, nutritionally.
There’s no denying that kale is a healthy addition to any meal.
The vitamin C in kale improves metabolism, keeping you on point with your weight loss goals. Kale is excellent for your digestion and liver, helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and can help lower cholesterol. Being such a nutrient dense food, Kale has a hugely beneficial effect on the immune system, and, by the way, has more iron than red meat.
We can keep going; kale is known to help prevent various cancers, is rich in vitamin K for bone health, and it’s omega-3 fatty acids help fight inflammation in your diet. If you want one singular ingredient to supercharge your diet, this is it.
So there’s no debating the positive health benefits of kale and other nutrient dense vegetables, now the challenge: find a way to make it taste good. The goal is to eat an optimal, healthy diet that enables you to think, perform and be your best self. Unfortunately, and I don’t think this is an uncommon opinion, kale taste like eating a branch off a tree.
Solution: Sneaky Greens
Here’s one way to get kale into your diet and you’ll barely know it’s there. If you’re not a fan of putting kale in your shakes, or you don’t like shakes at all, the same principle works with cooking. This is best way on how to get more vegetables in your diet.
By chopping kale extremely finely you can add it to your favorite sauces and dishes without having to chew what is a fairly tough veggie, and without affecting flavor.
The easiest example to use is a tomato sauce. Chop two handfuls of kale (skip most of the stock) and simmer on the stove with garlic and butter or olive oil. Take your favorite store bought pasta sauce, pour over the kale and mix it all together.
Let that simmer for 5 minutes and continue stirring. Pour this sauce over chicken and brown rice and you’ve just added nature’s most potent multivitamin to your dinner and you won’t even taste the greens.
#2 Problem: Late Night Snacking
We’ve all been guilty of this from time to time, but how guilty are you, really? Are you trying to shred fat and finding yourself at a plateau? Late night snacking tends to be the most popular area of nutritional breakdown and causes people to express denial in regards to how often or how badly they give into the urge to snack at night.
One of the keys to journaling your food intake is the ability to be real with yourself about what you’re taking in, and late night snacks are without a doubt the most common meal to miss the journal. Feeling a sense of failure for giving into this impulse causes self-esteem issues and pulls you further away from your best path for reaching your goals.
So what are the triggers?
Believe it or not, advertising can be one of the strongest catalysts for this urge to cheat your diet. Modern advertising is a combination of modern art and science all geared towards making your brain crave what their employer is selling. Managing your stimulus is key but there is more going on here.
Midnight snacking is usually triggered by the urge to eat for pleasure rather than sustenance. It can also be an escape-based reaction to social anxiety or other stresses going on in your life i.e. nervous eating.
If you’re recently restricted your starch intake, it’s also common to experience cravings at night.
Solution: Sustain Shake
The first part of the solution is really about managing your inputs and being aware of your triggers for impulsive eating. If stress at work is causing you to eat unhealthily as a response to find comfort in pleasurable food, then it’s important to examine where you are placing your health in the order of your priorities. If late night eating is an issue when you’re around certain social situations, perhaps it’s time to manage those as well.
Still, some of these triggers are outside of our control and so in addressing those things that can be controlled, the best plan is to manage what we eat that can suppress the urge to continue eating.
Since the dawn of dumbbells, body builders have been having that one last shake before bed to pump a few extra grams of protein in before sleep. By taking what we know from modern nutritional science and adding to this.
The keys to creating a shake that will sustain you and suppress your appetite are:
– Lean protein (whey protein isolate powder)
o Consuming lean protein is one of the most effective ways to curb appetite and sustain the body’s energy levels.
– A fibrous food (like kale) added to the mix increases volume but reduces calorie density, allowing you to feel full (not to mention it comes full of vitamins).
– Almonds (and other nuts) have the ability to suppress hunger and help manage your impulse to snack. Be aware this effect on the appetite can take 30 minutes to take place.
– Frozen Berries make a treat out of any smoothie or shake. This can be key for anyone with a sweet tooth as your night time shake can satisfy that itch and take the place of dessert, without actually being a diet bomb.
It’s perfectly ok to have holes in your diet or pitfalls that you experience. Fitness is a journey not a destination.
The more effort you put into identifying your personal missteps and take strides to correct them, you will continue to see progress as you move forward towards your health and fitness goals. It’s not always easy to be entirely realistic with ourselves about our personal shortcomings.
Through taking responsibility for the risk areas and learning to manage those weak points, we can take preemptive action, manage our diets and impulses, and stick to our goals.
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