Eating styles, or more commonly called “diets,” all have their roots in accomplishing a specific goal. Some eating styles will help you reduce body fat, while others purport to add lean mass. These specialized eating styles can all work if you stick to their stringent directives. But once you deviate, you will not see the results you are looking to accomplish. Then, you are on to the next one that will actually work for you and your lifestyle. The cycle begins again and what is old is new again. This revolving circle can become frustrating and lead to mediocre outcomes at best.
At WRCF, we hold an agnostic view of these eating styles and don’t subscribe to any of them; rather, we sit down with our clients to approach nutrition coaching from a whole health perspective. Considering your food preferences, cooking and prep skills, schedule, and lifestyle factors, we help clients create tailored programs for continual progress.
Throughout our nutrition coaching practice, we have seen at least 3 strategies that continuously work for many clients you should consider.
- Choose the right fats
- Eat at least 5 fruits/vegetables a day
- Build your snacks and meals around protein
Choosing the right fats – Fats have been vilified for many years by the American public due to a slew of reasons (that’s a different blog). But, fats are an essential macronutrient that needs to be consumed to help many of our bodily functions like building hormones and being power packed energy source. But they are not all created equal. Poly and monounsaturated fats are excellent sources of fat. They are found in foods such as salmon, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. These fats can help with inflammation reduction and have been shown to help improve blood cholesterol levels, which can help reduce your risk for heart disease and may help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes (Mayo Clinic).
On the other side of the coin is trans fat. Trans fat is most commonly found in highly processed foods and created through partial hydrogenation. These partially hydrogenated fats can increase total blood cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride and lower HDL (good cholesterol). These all increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Trans fat should be avoided when at all possible with a goal of zero grams per day.
Eat 5 fruits/veggies a day – Eating whole uncrossed fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to obtain the daily recommended dose of fiber and essential nutrients while adding prebiotic to your digestive tract to help support gut health.
Believe it or not, this is the most challenging suggestion to follow for most new nutrition clients. Most find they only get 1-3 fresh or minimally processed fruits and veggies before purposefully getting 5 as a minimum each day.
An interesting anecdote I’ll share with you for some folks is they try to avoid eating too many fruits to achieve their 5 a day for fear of eating foods high in carbs. If this is you, you can rest easy. Even if you choose the fruits that are highest in carbs like mangos, grapes, or cherries, you will still be far in the shadows of grams of carbs you will find in single servings of processed carbs in that nutrition bar. If you are still concerned, consume 3-4 servings of veggies and 1-2 servings of fruits per day, and you will get all the benefits and fewer calories from eating whole foods.
Build your snacks and meals around protein – That’s right, both snacks and meals. Most clients understand that meals need to have protein but neglect to realize that snacks do too. Proteins are comprised of amino acids (both plant and animal) and are the building blocks of our body. Without dietary protein, our bodies will cannibalize current muscles to perform critical functions of the body.
Proteins come in many forms, and the amount you need is based on your goals, body composition, and genetics. Working with a professional will help you set the amount required each day. With this knowledge, you can reverse engineer your meals and snacks to meet your required needs. AND OH… FYI… most folks don’t need to drink a protein shake to meet their daily needs. Shakes should be used as the category they are found in the store, supplements (not your base).
There you have it—our three most commonly used strategies to helping most people eat healthier. If you would like to see what methods work best for you, set up a meeting with one of our two nutrition coaches.