For my clients, and also for anyone who has ever asked me about food, I'm going to provide some very blunt advice.
Your workouts are super important. Balancing your anatomies is important, developing versatile agility, balance and core strength is vital. Feeling strong and ripe, having energized cells and optimal circulation is important for happy hormones and generally feeling great for every second of awake-ness every day.
But you can have the best workouts in the world, and still feel like *ish all the time if you are eating poorly. And by poorly I mean not enough protein, too much sugar, too much starch, the wrong kinds of fats, too-large meals, or too-small meals.
Your results from your workouts will be OPTIMIZED if you learn how to eat for the rest of your life. Yup, you can still slam some pizza here and there, toss back a vodka or two occasionally, as long as the majority of your days are spent gravitating toward a bounty of delicious whole foods in a satisfying balance.
Follow these straight-up tips.
Pick your protein FIRST. When you're at a restaurant, choosing what to have for breakfast, choosing what to have for dinner, decide on your protein source. Protein fills you up slowly, and keeps you satiated longer. It will stabilize your blood sugar levels (keep you from being up and down - hungry and full, happy and sad - all day long) and also contribute to cell repair / turnover. Ie, it keeps your muscles in top shape, keeps your hair, skin and nails healthier, and ultimately keeps you feeling energized, happy and very healthy. Inside-out.
THEN choose your produce. Once you have a protein selected, make sure you're going to have some colour on your plate. Blueberries on the side of your eggs, or a sweet potato and spinach hash, or grilled veggies on the side of your fish, or a side salad beside your quinoa/chickpea bowl... There are many options. When all else fails, whip up a green smoothie to have with your protein. Your meal doesn't have to be super conventional, it just has to have your nutrients in balance.
You can opt to add a little starch. Legumes like lentils, chick peas, edamame etc make a great filling carb option to add to a meal. They provide high-fibre carbohydrates that also kick in a little extra protein. I always prefer carbs from whole foods like legumes, or sweet potato or squash as a starch (fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, too, remember). They are filling and more nutrient dense than say rice or rice pasta. You get more bang for buck, your body will use it right up and thank you for it with high energy and a high mood.
Make sure your meal has a healthy fat. If you're in a restaurant, there's a pretty good chance that your chicken's already been marinated in oil, that your bowl of vegetables and quinoa has already been drizzled in oil, or that your eggs have been scrambled in a ton of butter so it's not too hard to add on your fats. If you are eating at home, however, sautee your vegetables and seafood in a little coconut oil, drizzle your steamed vegetables in olive oil, or add avocado to the side of your dish. Fattier meals like salmon probably don't need much of an addition, whereas a baked / stuffed chicken breast would require a dose of goat cheese and a sprinkle of hemp seeds on a salad, for instance. Keep chia, hemp and pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, walnuts and other whole nuts on hand to add a bit of fat to a dish in a pinch if it's lacking. Fats from the ground are typically your best bet, and not only increase good cholesterol but decrease the bad.
Focusing on what to include, rather than what to avoid, helps you to enjoy your meals. There is so much beautiful healthy food available to us. If it doesn't suit your taste buds, pick 3-4 breakfasts, lunches and dinners and rotate through them. Variety is ideal, but if you're really picky, start there. The taste buds CHANGE. If you're picky now, that's not you set for life. That's you conditioned by what you've already been eating. Change that, push through, and your taste buds will soon be super stoked on that real food flavour vs. a mask of preservatives.
If you're trying to change your habits, start here. I guarantee you'll feel worlds better in even just a few weeks. For extra advice, buy a training package (my clients receive ongoing guidance in the form of menu picking, problem dodging, coaching through events) - or, you can contact me for a specific-to-you meal plan.