Seven Fundamental Nutrition Habits
We all know that in exercise it’s important to have a solid foundation of quality movement and basic skills before we move to more complex endeavors. Nutrition is no different. So why are so many quick to jump to precise macro prescriptions and intermittent fasting protocols?
These more advanced nutrition tools have their place, but they must rest on a strong base of foundational nutrition and lifestyle behaviors. That’s why our coaches take a tiered approach to nutrition, so you know that you’re taking care of the most important steps first.
Here are seven questions to ask yourself to start assessing your nutrition foundation.
1) Are you chewing your food enough?
Chewing your food 20-30 times per mouthful is an important first step in the digestive process. Saliva helps break down your food and well-pulverized food particles mean easier absorption of nutrients. Put down your fork between bites and avoid using water to help you swallow unchewed mouthfuls.
2) Do you sit down in a distraction-free environment to eat?
Consider the environment in which you eat. For ideal digestion and absorption of nutrients it is best to sit down in a distraction-free environment, away from screens and in a relaxed state. Try to block out time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you’re not eating on the go and in front of your computer.
3) Are you eating enough protein?
The right amount of protein is individualized based on body composition, goals, age, and other factors. As a starting point you can try including 1-2 palm-sized servings of protein at every meal (2 for larger males, 1 for smaller females). Protein breaks down into amino acids, which form the building blocks for our body to build and repair cells, muscles and organs. You could say it’s pretty important!
Good sources of protein include meats, chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eggs and dairy. Read about why protein is important and how to vary it in this blog.
4) Are you eating enough vegetables?
Eat the rainbow! Eating a diverse array of colorful veggies is a great way to boost your intake of fiber and variety of micronutrients and phytonutrients. Aiming for 10 shades of fruits and vegetables throughout the day is one of the best ways to supercharge your nutrition.
Read about the benefits of different colorful vegetables in this blog.
5) Do you source local, organic food?
Learn where your food is coming from and do a cost-benefit analysis on locally grown, organic foods. Farmers markets are a great place to find affordable and quality organic produce. This will help minimize your exposure to pesticides and other toxins from conventional farming, as well as support local farmers.
6) Do you meal prep in advance?
Taking an hour or so to meal prep for the week is a great way to manage your budget and ensure you have healthy meals ready for the week. If you often find yourself buying lunch out or ordering in after work, consider making meal prep part of your Sunday ritual.
Learn our meal prep strategy in this blog.
7) Do you eat at regular times each day?
Life is busy, but frequently skipping meals and eating at inconsistent times can throw off your fitness progress. Our bodies love consistency, so look at your day and determine when you can always devote to eating mindfully. Even if it’s a departure from a traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner, block out meal times that work for you, every day.
If you need help answering “yes” to any of these questions then find an OPEX Gym near you. Our coaches design personalized exercise, nutrition, and behavior programs to help you set a strong foundation in all areas of your health.