We don’t have to give up the foods we love to lead a healthy life.
I truly believe that having all foods are important, and yes that includes foods that can often get a bad rap. But one bad meal isn't going to undo your hard work… and in my opinion may even BOOST your results.
How you ask? Because your morale will be higher after eating what I call “soul foods”. Those meals that taste AMAZING, that nourish your soul. The meals that you share with family & friends, making memories. The foods that when you take your first bite, transport you back to a moment in time in your past that you think of with fondness, just like baking with Grandma or creating memories with your own children!
Yes, of course we need to nourish our bodies with a good balance of foods majority of the time, but don’t get so caught up in “healthy” that you forget to enjoy your life too! But I’ll be the first to admit, that you need to find that balance for yourself, because our bodies, our activity levels and even the foods we love are all so individual. So let’s break it down… what should we be eating? And what exactly do certain foods do in our bodies?
Foods can be broken down into a couple of main categories, that we want to be consuming in our meals on a regular basis;
Protein ● Breaks down into amino acids that help build lean muscle
● Controls appetite hormones, lessens carb cravings, & stabilizes blood sugar
● Can be from plant or animal sources
● Helps you sleep better
● Fights stress
● Weight loss/maintenance
● Breaks down into various fatty acids, which enable hormone production.
● Controls appetite hormones, so you feel satisfied.
● Stabilizes blood sugar
● Slows digestion & curbs cravings helps burn body fat
● Binds to excess hormones & removes toxins from the body
● Slows absorption of sugar
● Feeds good bacteria in your belly
● Break down into glucose for energy.
● Vegetables (especially greens!) to naturally detox
● B vitamins for energy
● Loaded with fiber & antioxidants
● Provides vitamins & minerals
The interesting thing is that women's bodies actually CHANGE during your menstrual cycle in different phases, and the way our bodies break down these foods can change due to hormonal shifts within the body. Most women also notice food cravings at certain times of their menstrual cycles too! So it's important for women to be aware of these physical changes & make adjustments to their nutrition accordingly. Also as we age, our bodies require a different amount of nutrients too! This is why I think its so important for women to revisit their nutrition regularly, and take notes on the foods they consume, and how they can improve... sometimes all we need is to make a few little tweaks to get back on track towards our goals. But in general, do you feel confused on how much a woman should eat? Check out this handy table from the Eat for Health, Australian Dietary Guidelines, to see general amounts women should consume daily to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients. Remember, our bodies are individual, so the amount of food we consume is going to be different for us all - and that's where knowing your BMR comes in handy! (Check out my last blog to help you calculate your BMR)
Read more in depth dietary information here: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf
But here’s my BIGGEST tip… Fall in love with food. “Healthy” doesn’t have to mean boring! For anyone who knows me well enough, they know I LOVE food… I mean I have a whole Instagram page dedicated to my love of food! (You can check it out here if you want to - https://www.instagram.com/sophie_living_healthy_for_me/).
Healthy doesn’t have to mean poached chicken with rice & beans. It doesn’t have to mean salads every day. It doesn’t have to mean never having your favourite sweets again… Healthy for me is about living my life to the fullest, and enjoying the foods I consume. I don’t have to say no to going out and celebrating with family & friends. It never stresses me out to go out to a restaurant in case they don’t have “healthy” options… But I won’t lie, I have made changes to my lifestyle. I’ve learnt about the pillars of a good meal (protein, carbohydrates, fats & fibre mentioned above), and I incorporate these in my every day meals. I have drastically cut down on processed foods, because let’s face it, it's not really doing you any favours anyway! I’ve learnt to make food from scratch (meaning no packet mixes anymore!), I’ve learnt how to read recipes & make them my own, I’ve learnt to meal plan & meal prep to make it fit into MY LIFESTYLE. And that’s the key… make your choices fit into YOUR LIFESTYLE.
“Healthy” is going to look & feel different to different people… so don’t stress about the latest fad diets or what someone else is doing. Learn the pillars of a great meal, and I guarantee you… not only will you fall in love with food, but your body will thank you for it too!