Smart Food Choices - Tips To Choose Nutrient Dense Foods
Making smart food choices during the colder months can be a tasty
and enjoyable experience if you delve into a selection of delicious
recipes and cooking ideas. Proper flavoring is a key aspect for
fitness competitors and bodybuilders due to the many weeks of strict
dieting they endure. One has to become creative in order to keep
the simple and repetitive foods exciting and flavorful. There are
limited food choices when dieting so in order to help vary the constant
repetition you need to look for alternative ways of cooking that
include new and flavorful spices and recipes which are incredibly
tasty and low in calories!
Winter brings us hearty wonderful greens brimming with phytonutrients
and these items are virtually fat free. Green vegetables consist
of a carbohydrate source which is non starchy and useful in low-calorie
meal plans that are low in fat and carbohydrates.
Different types of squash are also a winter vegetable but tend
to contain a little more starch and are best eaten in moderation
during the dieting phase of your pre-contest preparation. Spaghetti
squash makes for a great alternative to traditional spaghetti when
you need to cut down on the carbs.
When it comes to corn, I suggest avoiding or limiting this food
item in your diet. Peas and carrots should also be limited as they
are starchy foods as well. I suggest getting your sources of starch
elsewhere and filling your carbohydrate choices with greens instead.
Green beans, spinach and broccoli are all low-fat, excellent quality
carbs to include in your meal plan, so you can really fill up on
these items. Include yams, squash, carrots, peas and sweet potatoes
post-workout to refill glycogen levels. The rest of your starchy
carb sources should come from grains which are whole wheat and include
quinoa, oats, brown rice and Ezekiel bread.
Fruits can be very sweet and full of natural sugar (fructose).
Although these are natural, nutrient dense foods, the sugar contained
in them is not ideal for fat loss since fructose fills up liver
glycogen and not muscle glycogen like starchy carbs do. Fruit has
tons of vitamins and minerals and is great for maintaining a healthy
diet but for pre-contest preparation is not going to be your best
choice for getting absolutely shredded and vascular. With this being
noted, some people with ectomorphic body types (naturally very lean)
can handle fruit in their diet, even pre-contest. Fruits actually
work well and depending on your diet goals you may not need to be
as strict. Two servings is a normal portion size and try to choose
grapefruit or a lower glycemic choice while seeking optimal fat
loss. Slowly incorporate other fruits, including the sweet ones
but only as a treat once in a while. It is not uncommon for competitors
to exclude fruit completely during the lean down phase of their
diets but when they do have fruit it is always fresh and organic.
Local farmers markets are excellent for finding fruit and other
The protein foods in your diet including poultry, fish and meat
alternatives can get rather bland so it's important to jazz them
up a little with different spices, herbs and other special ingredients.
Lemons and limes are a natural flavor source which work very well
on top of any food and they are great for marinades and dressings.
Cracked pepper goes well with this combo as well. Extra virgin olive
oil is excellent for salad dressing along with a drizzle of balsamic
vinegar. Other oils that are great for toppings and also rich with
essential fatty acids which help with your fat loss goals include
flaxseed and Udo's Oils.
Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, wines, beer, fruit juices, vinegars,
ciders, mustards and low-fat yogurt are all interchangeable when
used in various combinations for salads, marinades, sauces and dips.
If sodium is an issue, then choose salt-free choices from the above
list. Use them in moderation since they can be rather high in calories.
Another excellent food choice to use is almonds but make sure they
are raw and unsalted. Use whole, grated or chopped almonds since
they can liven up any protein meal as a topping, or to any salad
and can virtually go on top of most meals with just a sprinkle which
adds a nutty taste to your food. Hemp and mustard seeds also add
some "pop" to your meals. Avocados are an excellent healthy
fat source you can use mashed with the above flavorings or chopped
raw atop foods.
Salsas are also excellent toppings and can easily be made with
items which are all diet friendly such as a lime and lemon combo
mentioned above, avocados, onions of various types including chives,
tomatoes (cherry, plum) along with cilantro, parsley, and a sprinkle
Add your favorite vinegar to the salsa to kick it up a notch and
make your dish exciting. These are just a few ideas which should
help take you through the rest of the season with your fitness and
physique goals in check and your diet really dialed in so you can
look as shredded as possible!