A Personal Trainer’s Tell All on Healthy Ingredients
What To Look For, Avoid, + Bonus Tips To A Sustainable Perspective To Consider
The info is out there. It’s just not easy to dig through when nutritional information is saturated with a tons of opinions, varying advice, contradicting advice, trendy fad diets that aren’t sustainable, and paid for misled marketing pushed at us every direction …it can get really confusing.
While I’m not a Registered Dietician, my background in Personal Training, Coaching with 2 nutrition certifications through Beachbody for four years, and personal life experience with myself and others, this is what I believe works. And it’s a whole lot simpler than “they” try to make it out to be.
Here Are Some Of My Best Ingredient Conscious Tips, As A Certified Personal Trainer:
- Don’t be gimmicked by front of the package claims and colors. Look at nutrition labels & ingredients lists on the back, where the good stuff. Keep it simple, and check out then ingredients list below on things to watch out for. Google ingredients to learn more about what you’re putting into your/your kids bodies.
- Eat as many whole foods as you can! Especially vegetables/plants. Alongside your other foods on the plate it’s great to load up on veggies! Aiming for 30 different plants a week and trying to eat balanced at all meals. Veggies in the morning can be hard for some, sneak them into shakes, making salads with a variety of plants, or having them as a snack is a great way to get them in. Remember: “plants” doesn’t just mean vegetables. It means most whole foods that aren’t meat or dairy products.
- If you can, choose organic. For eggs look for pasture raised. Cage free is marketing.
- For processed things aim for <10 grams of sugar per serving. (think sauces, yogurts, dressings, condiments, dips, etc.)
- When it comes to breads, Ezekiel (freezer section) is great, Dave’s Killer Bread, and other multigrain, highly seeded breads.
- Pastas, give one of these options a try: multigrain, chickpea (Banza brand great), lentil, quinoa, rice, etc.
- Rices: Look for whole grain rices, wild rice, brown rice
Oils to choose: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, avocado, coconut, ghee, sesame
When it comes to added sugar (and I’m not talking whole fruits here!), here are some great options: honey, pure maple syrup, monk fruit, dates, agave nectar, coconut sugar…to name a few. But remember try to keep it under <10 grams per serving, as you can!
Ingredients to watch out for in processed foods and beauty products, Google them! ;) :
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined (white) and artificial sugars: sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, etc.
- Artificial colors and dyes
- Artificial ingredients
- Soybean/canola/vegetable/palm & (worst of all) hydrogenated oils
- Processed foods with >10 grams added sugar (think sauces, yogurts, dressings, condiments, etc.)
- High amounts of caffeine
- Highly processed soybean products (not talking whole soybeans, edamame, tofu, tempeh)
- White: breads, rices, tortillas, pastas in moderation
- Food intolerances and sensitivities
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- BHA & BHT
- Isopropyl Alcohol SD-40
Some Sustainable Tips On A Healthy Lifestyle:
- Learn how to track your Macros. “Macros” being short for macronutrients, as in carbohydrates, proteins, fats. As well as micronutrients, like essential vitamins and minerals that the body requires through food! Fruits, nuts, seeds, other types of healthy fats, herbs, spices, legumes…there’s so much out there to try! I don’t know any good apps for it but I do know many I’ve tried in the past were…not accurate. Knowing the right portions for each food group, and how many servings of each, based on your body weight & goals, nourishes your body on a cellular level. We don’t need to restrict food groups, so much as we need to learn our intolerance, portion/balance, and minimizing processed foods! Talk to a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, Doctor, etc. to learn about calculating healthy macros for your body’s
- If you find yourself often going back for more than you would like to be eating regularly, try to eat your vegetables first, then eat your protein, healthy fats, etc., and then, carbohydrates last. This makes us feel more satiated eating the carbohydrate last, as they are more dense as sit heavier in our stomachs leading to that satisfied belly feeling! Plus, it has be found that in most cases you’re less likely to want to eat too, too much more “extra” food, unless you eat your vegetable last.
- Variety really is the spice of life, and moderation is the key ingredient! Once you’re eating in a healthy, sustainable regimen, you can still enjoy the goodies and usually you won’t want to keep going back for more at this point because you’re already getting full. So if you do eat the goodie last, with this method it helps you actually feel satisfied. Applied knowledge and mindset go a long way.
- Instead of focusing on what you “shouldnt eat” around you, stick to a plan of what you are going to eat for the week and allow yourself to treat in moderation. With homemade, better ingredient indulgences! This is referred to as the crowding out method; as you stick to your planned foods FIRST (and getting your water in), then you allow yourself to treat after your meal. There is no reason not to enjoy treats during the holidays, special moments, or a few times a week. But that means not overindulging either!
- If you know you’re going to some type of gathering or Holiday, you can always bring your own dish or two that you know fits your goals! This way you are still getting a nice meal in. If it’s a dinner you’re going to then get your veggies and healthful meals in for breakfast and lunch and allow yourself to enjoy dinner. The point here of this tip again is: focus on the healthful things you will be eating during other meals and less on what you shouldn’t. How we talk to ourselves matters! And preparing ahead is the battle.
- Drinking water before your meal (16 oz) and during can be very helpful too, in helping with that satisated feeling, plus ensuring adequate hydration. It is advised to aim for at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces (throughout the day), plus a bit more if you’re exercising, in heat, on your feet often, or on medications that say to drink more than please do so.
- Get a good, quality nights sleep. When we don’t put body produces I higher level of a hormone called ghrelin. Leading to more intense hunger cravings the next day, and certainly for increased glucose and “comfort foods.“
- Drop the guilt. If you ate it …move on. If you can, take time to reflect and journal on ways that you can be better prepared next time or what you might swap it for. Don’t think you need to workout extra hard to “burn it off.” That mindset doesn’t make the work feel worth doing for ourselves. Healthy living is supposed to feel empowering, not like a chore….so make it yours. Expect bumps along the way. Working out or using unhealthy methods because we ate something “bad” can lead to overtraining, thus minimized results, then burnout, or even injuries. Plus, it doesn’t work that way from one day of clean eating, nor one single workout. Whichever you do consistently will be what you are. I used to have a lot of fear around eating certain things but this perspective has really helped me free myself from that and able to truly enjoy without the guilt. As I hope you do too. No one needs that stress bloat or extra cortisol. Just move on, regroup with your plan and adapt to what works best for you. Beating yourself up for your actions is what is causing these actions to continue. Give yourself some grace and try again. Mindset is literally everything. I promise if you have a plan, you stick to it, and you drop the guilt…you are going to feel so empowered by your own choices while enjoying actually living.
- In the above ingredients to watch out for I included some towards the bottom to watch out for in your everyday products like lotions, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, nail polishes, etc. It’s great to consider some better made healthier tampons without chlorine and other toxins. Some brands I suggest are Cora, Natracare, and Seventh Generation.
- Lastly, focus on the fun around you, not just about the foods. Enjoying time with your loved ones and being fully present; the music, the ambiance, lighting, or if your outdoors enjoying how it feels to be outside in nature. Sometimes our brains are so used to pleasure seeking through food and it can take time, but with small steps and consistent, intentional actions, we can introduce ways to get our pleasure and dopamine, through habits that serve our health and our goals. Whatever they may be!
Everyone deserves the knowledge to basic healthy eating. In a society that is constantly marketing us and wants us to consume, learning how to fight back starts with our own eating habits. Love and respect your body to nourish it right and love yourself through each step of the way. A happy body is a healthy body! One that functions at it’s best and works for you!
Bonus —> Books to Consider Checking Out:
- SuperLife by Darin Olien
- Feeding You Lies by Vana Hari
Disclaimer: This is a general health guideline. Unless you are dealing with a health condition, on a special diet, or have been informed otherwise by a Doctor to follow a certain way of eating, then please follow as advised by your Doctor.
About the author
Welcome! I have loved writing poetry & creating stories ever since I was a little girl. I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Animal Flow Instructor, fiancé, dog & beardie mama, plant parent, & ocean lover! Happy reading, hope you enjoy! :)