Photo credit: Louis Hansel
Ask 10 people for the optimal diet and you’ll get 10 different answers. There’s really no one-size-fits-all nutrition solution, but if you need help getting started, we put together some general guidelines to follow.
1. Stay on the outside of the grocery store and avoid food with labels
On the outside of the grocery store is where you’ll find produce and protein. Vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, poultry — this is what should make up the bulk of your diet. Sure, you’ll need some things from the aisles — like coffee, nuts, and dairy — but try to avoid food with labels. You want to eat mostly whole, unprocessed food.
2. If you do eat food with a label — read it
Start reading labels and keep an eye out for added sugar. It’s incredible how easy it is to exceed the recommended daily allowance of added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (or 25
grams) of added sugar for women, 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams) for men per day. If you eat yogurt, oatmeal, or energy bars, take a look at the nutrition label to make sure they aren’t packed with sugar.
3. Keep an eye on portion size
While the quality of your food is important, you should also be aware of the quantity of food you’re consuming. A very simple way to track your portion sizes is to use your hand.
First, open your hand, palm up. Women should eat a palm-sized portion of protein at every meal, men two palm-sized portions. Protein includes meat, fish, poultry, and beans. Next, make a fist.
Women should eat a fist-sized portion of vegetables, men two fist-sized portions.
Cup your hand — that’s carbs, like whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits. One cupped hand portion for women, two for men at every meal.
Finally, use your thumb to determine your fat portions. One thumb for each meal for women, two for men of fats such as nuts, oils, and butter.
Following these three rules is a good start. If you’d like a more detailed nutrition plan, just let us know. We can help!