Eating healthy is essential for achieving optimal fitness results. When it comes to maximizing your results, it's essential that your fitness & exercise routines complement each other. Your workouts are only a small part of achieving optimal fitness results, but developing healthy eating habits will go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals. Keep reading to learn 5 healthy eating habits to support a complete fitness & exercise routine.
1. Eat A Balanced Diet
A poor diet can seriously hinder your results, even if your fitness & exercise routine is optimal. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is a vital component of your success. According to the MyPlate guidelines, half of your plate at each meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables. The other half of your plate should be a combination of protein and grains.
To ensure you're getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients, choose to eat different colored fruits and vegetables each day. For example, yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots and squash contain high levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, while green vegetables are high in potassium. Varying the foods you eat each day through a balanced diet will soon become a habit that will help you reach your fitness goals.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
When you increase your fitness & exercise intensity, don't forget to pay attention to how much water you consume. Drinking enough fluids before, during, and after exercise will help increase your endurance and performance. Not drinking enough water can lead to serious dehydration, especially in warm weather, that can stand in the way of your ability to exercise.
Not only is drinking enough water important for your workout performance, but it can also help support weight loss. Water can act as an appetite suppressant and help your body burn more calories. As a general guideline, aim to drink about half an ounce to one ounce of water daily for each pound of weight.
3. Limit Processed Food
Processed food refers to any type of food packaged or processed in a way that's different from its original state. It may be frozen, canned, packaged, dehydrated, and processed at varying degrees, from minimally processed to highly processed. For example, unprocessed fresh corn is better than frozen corn (minimally processed), but frozen corn is better than a can of creamed corn (highly processed). The same applies to other types of food, including vegetables, fruit, and meat.
Processed foods are often high in fat and calories, plus they typically contain high levels of sugar, salt, additives, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Canned soup, hot dogs, deli meat, frozen dinners, energy bars, cookies, and fast food are just a few examples. Instead of processed foods, try to eat more whole foods in their natural state. That means more home-prepared meals and the least processed food you can find.
4. Consume Lean Proteins and Complex Carbohydrates
In addition to fruits and vegetables, each meal should contain lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. These specific types of carbohydrates are found in plant foods and serve an important role, giving your cells energy to perform everyday tasks and the fuel necessary to exercise. Some examples of this type of carbohydrate include brown rice, whole wheat bread, and peas.
Lean proteins are low in fat and cholesterol but contain lots of high-quality protein. A few examples include egg whites, low-fat dairy, or chicken breast. Plant-based foods such as soy, beans, nuts, and seeds are also great options for lean proteins. Consuming the right amount of lean proteins can help keep you full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating or eating too much sugar. In addition, protein increases metabolism and supports your fitness & exercise goals.
5. Listen to Your Body
To help maximize your fitness & exercise plan, be sure to listen to your body. Getting in tune with your body can help you eat mindfully and prevent overeating. It's important to listen to your body and respond to your natural hunger cues. That means if you're hungry, you should eat and not deprive yourself.
When your body sends hunger signals, respond by choosing the right foods, such as lean proteins, colorful vegetables and fruit,, and complex carbohydrates as mentioned above. It's also important to listen to your body when you feel full, and stop eating when you feel satisfied.
The concept of listening to your body when hunger cues come is known as intuitive eating. Intuitive eating can help you develop a healthy relationship with food while supporting your fitness goals.
Achieving Your Fitness & Exercise Goals through Healthy Eating
Eating healthy is an important part of reaching your fitness goals. Developing healthy eating habits such as eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, limiting processed foods, consuming whole foods, and listening to your body can help you achieve optimal fitness results.
With the right combination of healthy eating habits and a strategic workout plan, you'll be well on your way to a healthier future in no time! Start today with these healthy eating habits for optimal fitness results.