Get the hang of eating healthy with our roundup of the 12 best beginner nutrition tips.
12 Best Beginner Nutrition Tips
- Tailor your nutrition to your goal - If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume each day. Yet if you want to build muscle mass, you need to eat more calories than you burn each day. What is your goal? Eat accordingly.
- Don’t skimp on carbs - Carbs get a bad rap but they give you energy needed to work out. Eat complex carbs at every meal. Muscle & Fitness recommends 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, per day.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies - Produce is loaded with nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Aim for four to six servings per day.
- Fuel workouts - You’ll work out harder if you eat before, so don’t be afraid to enjoy a snack that’s full of complex carbs and lean protein before you hit the gym.
- Count calories - In order to know whether you’re eating the right amount of calories, you must learn to count them. There is no shortcut around this, though apps make calorie counting easier. Devote the time to do it.
- Prioritize lean proteins – Protein is the building block of muscle mass, but rich proteins can make you fat. Stick with lean protein sources, which deliver the protein you need without the high calorie count. These include chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of red meat.
- Avoid refined carbs – Avoid refined carbs, which elevate your blood sugar. These include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and potatoes. Stick with complex carbs, like sweet potato or brown rice.
- Make small changes and stick with them - If you’re transitioning from a poor diet to a healthy one, it can feel overwhelming to make all these changes at once. Start with one and stick with it. Then add on as you go along.
- Treat yourself - Give yourself one small treat per day to make nutrition fun. This way, you can still have a beer or enjoy a cookie. Indulging in small treats will make you less likely to cheat.
- Be realistic - Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, much as television shows like “The Biggest Loser” like to pretend otherwise. Be realistic about weight loss goals and you’re much more likely to be satisfied with your slow and steady progress.
- Don’t over think it - Follow these rules to kick start healthy nutrition, but don’t over think it. Counting calories, reading labels, and tallying up how much of every single nutrient you’re getting is overkill. Focus on eating healthy and following these guidelines and you’ll be good to go.
- Keep a food log - Keep a food log of everything you eat to get an instant “reality check” on how well you’re meeting these nutrition goals. If you’re falling short, don’t beat yourself up. Just make changes to get back in line.
Did we leave anything out of these 12 best beginner nutrition tips that you wish you knew when getting started? If so let us know in the comments.