There is just as much clutter out there about nutrition as there is about exercise – maybe even more. That’s why my approach to diet is very similar to my approach to being active. You start with a simple approach and then build from there in small, easy steps. What is the first step towards being active for someone who isn’t active at all? Start by just simply walking. We’ll add weight lifting and intervals later when you are ready. Just get out there and get moving. In a very similar approach to nutrition, I use the MyPlate recommendations by the USDA.
The USDA has replaced the Food Pyramid that many of us were taught with something called ChooseMyPlate. ChooseMyPlate doesn’t count calories or discuss supplementation. It doesn’t consider portion sizes or even meal spacing throughout the day. And it certainly doesn’t create a diet plan tailored to your specific needs. Like the weights and intervals, that can come later.
The graphic has five categories: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy. The portion of each of the five segments should roughly match the amount of each group in your meal. Does that mean we’re dividing our foods into sections as we eat? Of course not! But, it does provide a rough guide to compare your meals to. Imagine the typical pasta dish at your favorite chain restaurant. I’m guessing the fruits and veggies don’t make up half of the meal! And the grain isn’t limited to 1/4 of the plate, either!
My diet review process starts with a summary food log that you prepare for me. There’s no need for measuring cups or detailed ingredient lists. That can come later. Your food summary will be one page – for the whole week. We’ll break those meals down based on MyPlate to see where you are doing well and what is missing. I’ll focus on the quality foods that have worked for your daily routine and on new foods that you can add to fill in the gaps.
No guilt trips for one bad meal, no slaps the wrist when you struggle to make changes, just a simple list of things to do better. Just like everything else in fitness, we’re aiming for a long-term change in lifestyle and not a short-term adjustment to get your trainer off your back.
This simplified approach will put you in control of your diet to put you on the road to a healthier lifestyle.
There is more information in my blog about eating healthy: http://blog.danhoganfitness.com/search/label/Nutrition