Here is the JDP Health & Fitness Ultimate guide to Fitness Food
composed by Scarlet Hollands.
It’s true what they say, “You are what you eat” and that is why some days you feel more like a fluffy cream filled doughnut then a lean cut of beef that we are all aspiring too. But you probably already know that and that is why most of us are trying to clean up our acts and are hopping on the “clean eating” band wagon. To many, eating bananas, salads and drinking litres of vegetable juice may be “eating healthily” but this is NOT eating smart! This simply means building your diet around the most potent, nutrient dense, disease fighting and muscle building foods
As a fitness professional and athlete, it is vital for me to not only prioritise my health and ensure I am fueling my body correctly but to continually research, lookout and experiment on how various foods can enhance athletic performance, in particular to help fuel and educate my own clients. Daily I pass on nutritional information to them and I relish the remarks they share like “I feel so much more energized” or “Wow, what a difference!” It boils down to understanding your own body whilst managing the amount and type of exercise you do daily to how you should correctly and efficiently fuel/re-fuel your engine to ensure it works at its optimum. Not only that but the fat loss benefits will be a a nice side effect.
Here is a short list of foods that I would always recommend to keep in your diet and I have consistently on my weekly shopping list:
- Grains, Legumes and Starches
- High Fibre Cereal
- Sweet Potatos/Yams
- Brown Rice
- Rice Cakes
- Meat protein
- Chicken Breast
- Salmon Fillet
- Fillet Steak
- 5% Lean Beef Mince
- Turkey Bacon
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Low Sugar/Sodium Ketchup
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Chilli Sauce
- Herbs & Spices
- Black Pepper
- Chilli Flakes
- Pink Himalayan Salt
Your basket should compromise of 90% wholesome, nutritious foods that will be complimentary to your health. Its ok to allow yourself a small “treat” from time to time but like anything, always in moderation. As a general rule of thumb these are foods to avoid buying as they have little to no nutritional value and will only hinder progress to be a better and healthier you:
* Added Sugar & Fructose Corn Syrup – sugary drinks, sugary breakfast cereal, pastries, candy bars, sweets, juices, cookies, cakes, crackers, ice cream and syrups to name a few.
* Trans Fats/Hydrogenated Fats – processed foods, pizza, burgers, pies, doughnuts, fried foods, salty snacks, breads and desserts.
* Oils – vegetable oil, sunflower oil, palm oil and corn oil
* Highly Processed Foods – fast food, sugary drinks, crisps, candy, chocolate, refined sugar, processed meat, processed cheese, sauces and the majority written above.
* Alcohol – self explanatory. Alcohol provides ZERO nutritional value and has a whopping 7 kcals per 1g of alcohol!
Cooking/baking should be enjoyable. Many people see eating healthily as a very limiting experience and due to this fail to adhere to their program or want to clean up their food habits. As a kid, I remember my parents always “popping out” for the essentials which 9/10 times were always available in the house – eggs, bread and milk. Below are some essentials that I always have available in my kitchen cupboards so when I am cooking/baking, I always have the essentials to work with. Some are used more frequently then others however all of the below are guaranteed to spice up your cooking.
Coconut Flour – a brilliant and versatile alternative to grain based flours.
Coconut Oil – the internet is overflowing with love for coconut oil – google it – I use it for everything from baking, to a teaspoon in my coffee to a moisturiser.
Chia Seeds – mighty seeds filled with protein and fibre that can be sprinkled over porridge, added to smoothies or mashed up with fruit to make a healthy jam.
Flax Seeds – another great seed that also can be ground and sprinkled over most foods and is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and fibre.
Buckwheat Flour – a great gluten free flour replacement.
Date Syrup or Agave Syrup – natural sweeteners, replace sugar with these.
Almond Butter – a lower saturated fat alternative to peanut butter and delicious with anything!
Miso Paste – fermented, unpasteurised brown rice miso. Use it for dressings, marinades, glazes, soups etc.
Sesame Seeds – toast in an oil free pan for a few minutes and sprinkle onto salads/stir fries for extra crunch and flavor.
Raw Cashews & Almonds – super versatile nut that can be soaked overnight & made into cashew/almondmilk, ground to make flour and nut butter. Full of healthy fats.
Tahini – sesame seed paste, use to make fresh humous and is also great in dressings.
Tinned Chickpeas – the core ingredient in humous, falafel and great ‘popped’ as little crunchy snacks. Also used often in a variety of baked healthy treats such as protein blondies and healthy cookie dough.
Goji Berries – dried antioxidant packed little berries, sprinkle on salads for a little crunch, add to smoothies, pop on top of porridge etc.
Stevia – a great alternative to sugar and a healthier option to artificial sweeteners as stevia is derived from the stevia plant.
If, like many, you have a busy working lifestyle and the 3/4pm slump occurs and immediately your body is calling for you to reach out for a pick-me-up, take a look at these alternatives and actively make a better choice when you next feel that slump in energy kick in. guaranteed these alternatives will improve your energy levels, keep you going for longer, taste great and of course will be much more nutritious and calorie/macros friendly.
Potato crisps ————-→ Air popped popcorn
184 kcals & 11g saturated fat per bag 78 kcals & 0g saturated fat per bag
Chocolate Bar ————-→ 70-85% Dark Chocolate (6 pcs)
280 kcals, 35g carbs and 14g saturated fat 125 kcals, 4g carbs, 6g saturated fat
Ice Cream (1 scp) ————-→ Frozen Yoghurt (1 scp)
115 kcals, 6.5g saturated fat 86 kcals & 1g saturated fat
Cake/Slices/Brownies ————–→ Wholefood Slices (Nakd Bar)
200 kcals & 12g saturated fat 143 kcals & 2g saturated fat
Cookies & Biscuits (2 pcs) —————→ Fig Biscuits (2 pcs)
160 kcals & 8g saturated fat 90 kcals & 1g saturated fat
Meal Delivery Option
Now all of this, to us health professionals, seems like a small sacrifice to make. We are happy to spend time in the kitchen prepping our own food as we can closely see the link between that work, the work in the gym and our results. However, if that is not a sacrifice you are willing to make or simply don’t have the time then there is an alternative. Meal delivery companies will make use of all of the healthy ingredients above, cook meals that are specific to your goals, muscle gain, 12 week transformation etc, and deliver that food direct to your door. Our personal favourite is Fresh Fitness Food and we highly recommend them. They use well the ultimate guide to Fitness Food and create tasty food direct to your home or office. If you are interested use our unique discount code JDPFITNESS10 to receive a discount of 10% off your order.