Nutrition is becoming an increasingly complex issue that dieticians, trainers, coaches, and the average gym goer alike struggle to master. Misinformation, chemically enhanced foods, cleverly designed labels, and even an overpricing scheme at a food store that claim to sell better products has everyone standing in the center of the room with their hands up.
Organic vs. inorganic, gluten free vs. full of gluten, fat-free, sugar-free, low-carb, no-carb, recycled unicorn tears, and beyond...
As a nutrition coach it is critical for me to distill all of this information and boil it down into easier to use nuggets that a client can actually use. It isn't neccessary for me to explain the molecular structure of carbohydrates vs. fats, or discuss every vitamin and minerals purpose in the body. (Unless of course the client expresses and interest in this information, at which time I'll present them with a truncated version of things).
Furthermore, most clients don't have the time or desire to achieve body fat percentages that would allow them to step on a figure stage, or pose for a magazine. In fact, many clients want to work hard and do just enough right to justify their evening and weekend social habits. Not to mention the fact that their jobs cause them to work long, ridiculous hours, which can lead to poor nutritional options if they are unprepared.
The point here is that it is critical to develop a few nutrition "hacks" that all of your clients can use (assuming the lack of allergy or food intolerance). I preach simpliciity by not complicating the nutrition process to my clients.
Their schedules and lifestyles demand a lot from them, and the goal is to integrate healthier eating, at least in the beginning, and not make them hate everything in the world by uprooting their entire life at once.
This "hack" can help anyone, regardless of goals, boost their progress on the scale, in the gym, and ensure that they are doing right by their body.
Master the Scramble, Master the Stir-Fry, Master the Salad
One of the biggest hurdles for clients is that food quickly becomes boring if you are eating grilled chicken breast, egg whites, and canned tuna everyday paired with a serving or two of vegetables. Gone is the bread, and gone are the sweets that made life O-so-tasty and bearable.
Everything is just so bland when you are eating the same thing everyday.
Add me to everything!
Unless you master adding fruits and vegetables to your scrambled eggs, protein-based stir frys and salads. So much color and variety not only makes them better to look at, but it boosts the nutritional profile of the meal tenfold!
For example, let's take that boring old 3 egg scramble that you make in the morning as you sip your coffee and decide whether or not you want to wear pants to work. Instead of just slapping some eggs in the pan and stirring until done...
Add in some peppers, spinach, tomato, and serve on fresh spinach and top with walnuts. Boom, breakfast is high in protein, vitamins and minerals, omega 3 fats, and provides multiple vegetables in one serving.
The Stir Fry?
Cook your chicken, steak, or even fish and add in a half cup of brown rice and a half cup of quinoa. Throw in some carrots, peppers, tomatoes, brocolli, chopped up asparagus, and even your standard peas, corn, and green beans.
Beans, seeds, spinach and kale can help boost the nutrient profile and add in important minerals and phytonutrients.
A base of spinach or kale, topped with a healthy source of protein, and rounded out with any of the above listed vegetables, as well as any others you may just love. Top with walnuts, almonds, and even fresh cut apples or grapes. Again, high nutrient density, tons of flavor.
Keys to Remember
Don't ruin these meals by topping them with cheese, oils, sauces, and dressings that will make your meal nothing but sugar and fat bombs. You will still get the nutrient benefits of the protein and vegetables, but you will have created caloric nukes that will sabatoge your health and fitness goals.
Vegetarians can still apply these methods by utilizing the rules of healthy amino acid combinations. Beans, grains, vegetables, and tofu can all serve as protein sources for those who wish to avoid meat, dairy, and fish products.
Cut your vegetables in advance to speed up the cooking process. Purchase them at your local farmer's market, or grocer and treat the cutting process as part of the experience. Come home, put away the meats, and chop up all of your fruits and vegetables. Store them in containers in the fridge and use as needed.