The majority of people underestimate the impact that eating enough vegetables has on health and performance.
The intensity of CrossFit means that your body requires more support than the average joe. You need to be supplying it with a variety of nutrients.
#1: Eat the rainbow
A higher consumption of vegetables and fruit has been shown to lower the risk of mortality, especially mortality caused by cardiovascular disease. with a lower risk of all causes of death, especially cardiovascular death.
Star by adding more vegetables (particularly green vegetables) into at least one of your daily meals: toss in some spinach or kale into your scrambled eggs during breakfast, have a small bowl of salad with your lunch, and/or roast some broccoli and carrots with your dinner.
Keep what you eat interesting by tossing in the rainbow!
Bottom line is to eat vegetables at every meal.
#2: Minimize food stress and anxiety
Deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pre-workout, post workout etc. etc. etc. is overwhelming. The sheer number of decisions we have to make regarding food is staggering. Employing some simple strategies to minimize the stress can help you focus on other areas like training, work and your social life.
• It’s just one slice of pizza!
First and foremost, understand that you are never going to be perfect at anything, especially when it comes to eating “clean” 24/7. Life is too short to eat perfectly, but also too long to eat terribly.
If you can understand that nobody got fat from eating one donut or got skinny from eating one salad, you’ll stress less about that one single meal’s affect on your life. A healthy lifestyle is built on a long lifetime of consistent good choices, and not just one slice of pizza or can of beer.
• Plate Method
Keep nutrition simple to start and as you evolve and experiment, you can individualize how you eat for yourself. We don’t differ by kind, only by degree, which means we should all be eating a combination of meat, carbs, veggies, and fats – how much of each is very individual based on our body type, our training regimen, and our personal lifestyles.
Your starting point: The Plate Method
Take a normal sized plate. Half of it should be vegetables (preferably cooked). The other half should be SPLIT into carbohydrates and protein. Put a little circle in the middle and throw in some nuts or nut butters. If you eat like this 3-5x per day, you are doing it better than 99% of everyone else.
Going out to eat? Build your own plate and take the rest home for leftovers. No need to meal prep then for at least one more meal!
#3: Eat real food
- Meal Preparation Learn to make ONE kickass meal using spices and other seasonings. Then all you have to do is swap out the proteins, vegetables, and carbs but utilize the same cooking principles every time. Example: Grilled chicken breast with sweet potato mash and roasted broccoli Swap out the chicken for grilled steak, grilled pork, grilled salmon Swap out the sweet potato mash for white rice Swap out the roasted broccoli with sautéed kale The options are endless. Also, nobody grills/cooks one chicken breast at a time. Make the best use of your meal preparation time and do multiple batches!
- Snacks are just smaller meals
Snack with real food. Pro tip: when you meal prep, take one of your meals and divide it three ways. Then pack those into a smaller container as a snack! Stay away as much as possible from liquid calories (smoothies, protein shakes) as a substitute for real food especially when it comes to snacking because you’ll be hungry 10 minutes later. The same goes with protein bars that are usually packed with sugar and will spike your insulin levels and hunger pangs.
When in doubt, grab a piece of fruit, some jerky, and some nuts. This will also help keep you out of the pesky center aisles in the grocery store
#4: Eat protein at breakfast
Regardless of your goals, making sure you have a balanced breakfast that includes protein will make a HUGE difference in your life. Breakfast is generally one of the meals that people eat a solely carbohydrate-based meal. Cornflakes and milk? Bagels and coffee? Granola bar? If this sounds like you, there is a better way.
Some people can go until 1.30pm before eating any form of protein (and even then, it’s is usually only a small amount). Want to build muscle, lose fat and be awesome at work? Then get SOME PROTEIN IN YOUR BREAKFAST!
So why is having protein at breakfast is so crucial?
- Boost neurotransmitter production – boosts memory, attention and drive for the day ahead.
- It is linked to eating less throughout the day
- Stabilizes energy levels – no mid-morning energy dips
- Provides amino acids to build muscle and recover from training. It doesn’t matter whether you do the 6am conditioning class or the 8pm weightlifting class you need protein at breakfast.
“But I don’t have time!” or “I need to eat it on the go”
Meal prep doesn’t mean packing just food for lunch or dinner. You can easily prep for breakfast the evening before.
Scramble some eggs and cook some vegetables. Feel free to toss in a little cheese too. Roll it up in a brown rice, white corn, or even plain flour tortilla. Wrap your breakfast burrito in aluminum foil and you’re all set to go! There’s nothing wrong with eating it cold or PRO TIP: while you are getting ready, throw it in the oven and as the oven heats up, so too will your food.
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