Getting the right food to fuel your workout can be a tricky task, and your food intake requirements depend on a few different factors. Things like your age, sex, gender, height, what you do for work, and your activity levels will all play a part. Your needs will also change depending on what you want to achieve: are you on a weight loss journey? Or do you want to gain muscle? The list goes on.
In a nutshell, your body needs calories from the food you eat, just to maintain normal bodily functions – in fact, consuming low calories and not eating enough can be detrimental to your health. Seeing a dietitian for an individual assessment can help you determine how much you need.
Instead of focusing on a number, you can focus on improving the quality of your diet by fine-tuning the types of foods you eat. As a dietitian, I recommend eating a balanced diet based on predominantly wholefoods, from each major food group.
Protein is essentially the building block for many functions in our body, including skin, cartilage and blood. It also provides our body with nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. Protein sources also contain essential amino acids we need to maintain muscle repair tissues, which is super important when we’re working out. Choose sources like eggs, chicken, fish, beef, lamb, or plant-based alternatives such as tofu, nuts and seeds.
One of the most important roles of carbohydrates is to give your body energy, so it’s no wonder we need to keep them on the menu for an active lifestyle. Aim for wholegrain and high fibre sources like beans, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, oats, and wholegrain bread.
Fruit is a fantastic snack containing fibre which helps with digestion and vitamin C to help with immunity. Aim for two pieces of fresh fruit per day - mix it up, there are so many great options out there!
Eating an abundance of vegetables is essential for optimal health. A great goal is to try your best to sneak some vegetables in with each main meal during your day AND eat the rainbow - see how many colours you can get on your plate
Dairy is a great source of calcium, needed for strong bones and teeth. Try adding a little cheese, yoghurt or milk to your diet.
Now this is an important one. You can absolutely still have treats when eating a healthy, balanced diet! If you try your best to eat predominantly foods made from wholefoods, it still leaves room for your favourite treats. Go on, you deserve it. One of the biggest contributors to weight gain is overeating, so portion-control is something important to consider for anyone beginning a weight loss journey. Navigating the world of calories and macronutrients can be pretty daunting, but help is out there!
Youfoodz ready-made meals are chef-prepared and specifically designed to give you a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and veggies. Best of all, they’re available in the fridge at your local Goodlife!