It’s human nature. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Sometimes life gets into the way of our eating regimen, and presents us obstacles that ruin our attempts to consistently eat clean. I see it over and over with family, friends, and clients alike who truly put the effort and dedication into creating healthy eating habits, only to get sidetracked by something else that takes the attention away from whats most important, and that is what you put into your body. I’ve had this happen in the past, but after spending time with some of the most successful healthy eaters, I’ve learned how to make my diet bulletproof to any turbulence that may happen in my life.
HERE ARE 3 OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STRATEGIES THAT KEEP ME ON TRACK–
1.) Prepare your food on Sunday :
Stocking up on the essentials, and making quick, nutrient dense meals in bulk are the keys here. What are my essentials, you ask? Whole eggs, frozen mixed veggies, frozen fruit medleys (no sugar added), canned beans and lentils (calorie dense and excellent protein source) unsweetened vanilla almond, hemp, or coconut milk (all healthy bases for protein shakes), mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts…most seeds and nuts provide enough healthy fats to fill out your diet), poultry type of choice, beef of choice, and coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for cooking. With these items in your house, there already is no excuse to look and feel awesome.
Now, with healthy, locked and loaded fridge and cabinets, you’re off to an excellent start. To take it a step further, I encourage making a big batch of food that is ready now. My favorite has already been mentioned here on this site by Matt Kramer. It’s an amazingly healthy and delicious chili recipe by the wife of former Cressey Performance strength coach, Brian St. Pierre. Here is a link to the ingredients and cooking method.
By preparing a big batch of chili, or some other nutrient packed, high protein meal in bulk before the week starts, you have set yourself up for a successful series of days eating well. When something pops up, and you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you now have some awesome food ready and waiting to be crushed.
2.) Cut out the carbs that do nothing for you
Empty calories, processed junk, and foods that claim to be healthy with fancy marketing are surefire ways to drift astray from a successful diet. Unfortunately, these foods tend to be the most readily available, and therefore the most convenient. Pastas, breads, sugar loaded coffees, sports drinks and sodas can all be destructive to your health and performance goals.
Here are a few alternatives:
a.) Ezekiel bread and wraps REPLACING toast, pastries, and tortillas- Sprouted grains that replace flour, and tasty breads/wraps/pastas that are high in protein makes this stuff cool by me.
b.) Quinoa REPLACING pastas and rice- Quinoa is packed with protein, dense in fiber, and offers a low carb, tasty option to add to into a diet. I like it for adding good calories into my lunches and dinners that already consist of a meat and veggie.
c.) Black coffee with vanilla protein powder and cinnamon REPLACING whatever fancy cappuccino you get at Starbucks. My strength coach, and most consistent healthy eater I know, Eric Cressey introduced me to this alternative. It’s absolutely delicious.
3.) Narrow down your supplements
Most athletes and people I know in general, are constantly confused about which supplements to use. The first thing I tell them is that if you are using supplements to fix an average or below average diet, then you are missing the boat. First comes the quality food, then come the supplements…….slowly. People tend to fall for fads and stacks of supplements which is totally wrong if you don’t have the basics of an awesome meal plan in place. Once you feel solid in this aspect, then we can move onto starting some things to supplement an already stellar diet. Here are the essentials for those looking to start.
a.) high potency and purified fish oil- The benefits of taking fish oil are outstanding for anyone. As an athlete, it helps me fight inflammation and maintain good cardiac health. It is however, not limited to these benefits. It’s one of the most researched supplements out there. I recommend Carlson’s Norwegian brand. It’s actually pretty tasty.
b.) A quality greens product- Lets be honest, we probably aren’t fitting the optimal amount of fruits and veggies into our meals each and every day. My favorite insurance policy in case I don’t get enough is a product designed by my friend Chris the “Kiwi”. Its called Athletic Greens. Just put a tablespoon of this awesome stuff in water everyday, and you have yourself the most nutritious drink you’ll ever have. I’ve felt like superman ever since I added this to my morning routine.
c.) Quality Whey Protein- If you are training hard, eating right, sleeping well, and just being diesel in general, then It won’t harm you to add in a couple scoops of protein during the right times of day. During training, post training, and pre bed are good times to make a shake or blend in some of the powder into greek yogurt. My favorite protein out there is Jay Robb’s whey protein. Delicious taste, no artificial sweeteners, and protein that comes from grass-fed cows equals an excellent addition to anyone looking to get better.
In closing, remember that no matter what your goals are on the field or in the gym, it all starts in the kitchen. If we work as hard there as we do at developing in the weight room, then you’ll stay on track. It’s a disservice to yourself and those working to make you better if you eat like crap. Make it a part of your life to the point where eating excellent food becomes a habit.
I hope you found these insights helpful to making your goals more of a reality.