Healthy Eating and Snacking Made Simple

There's no disputing the fact that exercise is important for weight maintenance and well being. Whether you're running or biking, weight training or walking, making time every day for more movement can improve quality of life and prevent diseases. But, regardless of your chosen form of activity, exercise is only part of the healthy living equation. Let's say you are a cyclist. Even if you're an avid cyclist, chances are good that you're not on the bike for more than two or three hours a day. So what are you doing for your health the other 20 plus hours? Or, maybe you're spending two to three hours a week on the bike. Then that down time becomes even more important. How are you spending that downtime? More specifically, what are you eating?

Food is Fuel

What you put into your body has a greater influence on how you feel, perform, and look than how you train. Even a well planned and executed exercise routine can be sabotaged by poor nutrition. That's why it's important to make healthy eating a priority. Trouble is we get all mixed up about what's healthy and what's not. We're making it harder than it has to be. So let's simplify what it means to eat healthy.
1. Forget all of the diet talk. You don't have to be on a diet to eat well. As a matter of fact, it's not about dieting at all; it's about fueling your body for life and performance.
2. Don't go gluten-free, become a vegan, or buy all organic. Just eat real foods.
3. Real foods come from the earth. Fake foods come out of a box or bag.
4. Aim for two or three meals per day and a few small, healthy snacks if you get hungry.

Meal Plan

Create a balanced meal by combining a lean protein, with a healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate. The exact amount of eat nutrient and portion size will depend upon your personal goals. But generally, a healthy breakdown of total calories per nutrient comes in at 40% protein 30% carbohydrate and 30% fat. Try this:
1. Develop a menu for the upcoming week and use that menu as a guide for grocery shopping.
2. Remove temptation. Since there shouldn't be any junk on your menu, there will be no junk in the house.
3. Stock up on Tupperware containers that will be used to store prepared meals and snacks that you can take with you to work or on the road.
4. Set aside one day to prepare, cook, and store meals for the week based on your menu. Prepare foods in bulk.
5. Pack Tupperware containers with proper servings of your foods, and load up the fridge. This way you'll never have to find something to eat, you're be ready ahead of time.

Snack Time

If you find yourself getting hungry between meals, it's good to have healthy snacks on hand. Like whole meals, real food is best. It's easy to opt for chips or baked goods in the vending machine or around the office. But, if you've thought ahead, a handful of trail mix or some sliced veggies are a healthier option that will hold you over until it's time to eat a meal. Here are some snacks that are easy to make and store. 1. Larabar or make your own by using a food processor to combine dates and your nuts/seeds of choice
2. Hard boiled eggs
3. Apple or pear, sliced, and dusted with cinnamon
4. Canned tuna, salmon, or sardines
5. Sliced veggies dipped in salsa or guacamole
6. Almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds
7. Dried mango, goji berries, mulberries, or fruit leather (read the label to be sure it is unsweetened)
8. Nut butter and sliced fruit

Make it Happen

There's no secret diet or meal plan out there, and supplements are overrated. Instead of searching for a get fit quick solution, use the tips in this article to create a meal plan that will make healthy living accessible, not impossible.

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