The best diets are the ones that consume all sorts of nutrients, as well as improve the performance, body composition (the amount of lean mass and fat mass present; basically how you look) and health of that individual.
To have a diet which contains all types of nutrients, you need to have VARIETY! Eating the same things each day, even if they are considered ‘good’ foods, means you are likely deficient in other areas of your nutrition.
Eat for your own health, your own performance, and your own body composition, but do yourself the favour and achieve all of that by eating a wide range of foods.
“Variety is the spice of life”
Because of my profession, when I’m partaking in activities that aren’t considered “healthy” such as having a few drinks or eating certain types of food, I’m occasionally questioned from someone. As it happened this week when I was overheard talking about having a few beers early Saturday morning for the Socceroos game, I thought I’d make this point:
Health goes beyond food and exercising. A good social life, building and maintaining quality relationships and a positive mental attitude are also vital cogs in the machine that is optimal health. So if you miss your home cooked meal sometimes to instead be with friends or family to go out, don’t worry about it.
Eating all types of foods from chicken breast to ice cream, or consuming alcohol in moderation is fine as well if your overall nutrient needs are being met. “Clean eating” isn’t something that needs to be done 24/7 to be considered healthy.
I will go out for drinks with friends and I will eat what I want, when I want, but I know myself that I meet my nutritional and exercise needs none the less. Be smart, be flexible, and be a good friend/partner and you can enjoy foods which are often vilified without it affecting your health, as well as maintaining and building the relationships that matter to you.
This was one of my lunches this week.
The protein source I opted for on this occasion was salmon for a source of Omega 3s (or ‘healthy fats’ as some people may know it by), which is an essential fatty acid the body can’t produce itself, so must be consumed through foods. As Omega 3s are known to fight disease and promote healthy joints, it’s not a bad choice.
The accompanying salad was a mix of my favourite greens and a sweeter addition in semi dried tomatoes, topped with pine nuts, which were all a good fibre source.
Salmon is one of my favourite meals, but everyone has their own food preferences. Eat to suit your needs and preferences and remember to try to keep consuming a variety of foods to meet your macronutrient and micronutrient needs!
FYI here is the recipe with approximate ingredients:
Crispy Skin Salmon with Semi-Dried Tomato Salad
2 tablespoons pinenuts
salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons chives
2 x 200g salmon fillets
Mix salad into a bowl.
Season the salmon skin with salt.
Heat 1 table spoon olive oil in a medium non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy. Turn the salmon and cook for a further 2 minutes or until your liking.
To serve, arrange the salad on a serving plate and add the salmon.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean you avoid the foods you love, nor does it have to mean hours and hours of food prep. Check out this recipe below for a simple and easy to prepare Thai dish (who doesn’t like Thai food?) which contains a great mix of macronutrients, and most importantly is delicious!
Step 1: Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add the almonds and stir-fry for 1 minute or until golden. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Step 2: Add half the chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until brown. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the almonds. Repeat with the remaining chicken, reheating wok between batches.
Step 3: Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Add the onion, broccolini, chilli and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the broccolini is bright green and tender crisp. Add almonds, chicken, shallot and chilli jam and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through.
Step 4: Spoon the stir-fry among serving bowls. Sprinkle with basil and serve with steamed rice.