I am currently undertaking some work as a food coach and as a result, I am finding there are some common mistakes that people seem to be making. Do any of these sound like you??
Eating less during the day and more at night
Some people are consuming less food for breakfast and lunch and making a huge dinner. We need to consider what the purpose of food is… Fuel for the body. Similar to a car, your body needs fuel to go. You wouldn’t fuel up your car if you weren’t going to drive it, so why fill your body with food if your going to sleep? The body needs the calories in the food during the day, so that it can convert it to energy. Unused calories simply turn to fat. Plan your meals around when you are most active, such as pre and post a workout. That is when the body needs the fuel the most. If you train at night, eat 1-2 hours before you train and a small meal post training, to re-fuel.
Not being prepared
This is probably the most common issue I hear from clients, ‘I need to be more prepared.’ Everyone seems to understand that they need to be prepared, but it continues to be an issue for people. You need to treat food preparation like a permanent meeting you have with yourself, instead of an after thought you do if you have time. Just like committing to an exercise program, you need to commit to a healthy eating program and that means food prep. Find a time that suites you, preferably the same time each week, and give yourself a couple of hours to prepare. Ensure you have a list of things to make, the required ingredients and your Tupperware containers ready. My meal prep is generally:
- Cut of celery, carrots and beans for veggie stick snacks
- No bake oats balls
- Fruit salad
- Chicken and rice for lunch
Eating mainly pre-made frozen meals
With supermarkets stocking such a large selection of pre-made frozen meals, they can are a bit hit and miss… There is evidence to suggest that many meals are quite low in protein, whole grain and vegetables, which are all essentials for a healthy diet. If you are buying these frozen meals, make sure you read the ingredients list and pay particular attention to the serving sizes.
Not eating enough vegetables
Eating the recommended dietary intake of vegetables, around 5 serves, can be a challenged. It seems people are mainly consuming there vegetables at night and even then, it’s generally 1-2 serves. A high vegetable intake can help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and stroke, so its really important to ramp up your veggie intake. Some suggestions are:
- Snack on vegetable sticks with nut butter or humus
- Have chicken wraps packed with veggies
- Add grated vegetables to sauces
- Add a side salad
- Have a fresh fruit and vegetable juice
Not eating breakfast
I recently wrote a post about the importance of breakfast, blog post there are so many benefits to eating a healthy breakfast. Including:
- Speeds up metabolism
- Fuels the body for the day
- Curbs cravings
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Poor snack choice
“I just grab a muffin on my way to work,” seems to be a popular snack choice of the un-prepared. But that humble store bought muffin can be full of sugar, excess calories and empty carbs. Now, you can certainly have a healthy muffin, but that is one you generally make yourself. So again, be prepared, make a batch of healthy muffins for the week and enjoy!