Working hard and exercising requires quality energy. Rules and regulations lead to stress. The Zone guides keep eating well simple.
It’s not uncommon to feel confused by over-complicated eating plans and conflicting dietary advice. Rather than make dramatic changes and set yourself crazy rules, opt for small changes, and be conscious of the food you choose. Select fresh food that’s as close to its natural state as possible and does not contain artificial ingredients. A simple rule of thumb is to choose foods by colour, opt for brown as opposed to white or beige.
An eating lifestyle that many opt for is based on the 80/20 rule or intermittent fasting. You’re bound to know someone
in the office who’s doing this right now. Of course, there are lots of benefits, including lower insulin levels, weight loss, and lower blood pressure. And like most eating regimes it has many fans and followers. To keep it simple, just eat regularly. Choose five to six small meals a day – this can include healthy smoothies made with ingredients such as banana, oats, flaxseeds, spinach/kale, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), apple, pear, almond milk, coconut water, or just plain water.
A simple dietary change that can help you feel more energetic and keep your weight under control is to stay hydrated. Aim to drink two litres of water a day if you’re a woman, and three litres a day if you’re a man. If you get bored drinking plain water, try adding fresh lemon or lime, opt for sparkling, or hot water. You can also count caffeine-free herbal teas into your water intake. And of course, reducing or cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are all good moves. Try a day a week, a week a month, a month a year – or just cut it out completely.
Sugar and carbohydrates
Hidden sugars keep processed food fresh and tasty but can easily tip you over your daily healthy sugar limit. Choose carbohydrates that won’t cause sugar levels to spike. The Glycaemic Index (GI) rates foods as high or low. High GI foods are digested and absorbed quickly, which can result in spikes in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods, however, are digested and absorbed more slowly, keeping blood sugar levels steady. Low GI foods include fruits and vegetables; beans; minimally processed grains; low-fat dairy foods; and nuts. Fruit and vegetables are ‘good’ carbohydrates – eat as many as you can, go for five to 10 a day and opt for green leafy vegetables, and darker/bright coloured products such as aubergines, red, green and yellow peppers and dark berries which are all packed with antioxidants.
Protein and fat
Choose protein such as eggs, fish, and lean meat to keep your muscles healthy, and give you energy. Don’t focus on cutting out fat but do choose healthy fats sourced from food such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and consume less saturated fat. Combine your protein with carbohydrates, to help fuel your body, particularly after endurance exercise, and at the same time, this will work to keep hunger pangs at bay. Dairy is fine, but if you opt for non-dairy alternatives such as almond, oat, or soya milk, it has been found to reduce bloating.
First published in the launch issue of the Zone. For details of how to create your bespoke publication. Get in touch.