While working out will provide your body with the stimulus for it to change, you will still need to give it ample amounts of good nutrition so that it can build lean muscle mass, decrease body fat and maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
In this article, we will discuss how to make smart food choices as well as small lifestyle changes almost anyone can adapt to and incorporate easily into his or her daily routine. A lifestyle change where you start eating healthy foods will not only help you achieve an aesthetic physique, but it will also preserve your health. Below you’ll find a clean eating food list that will help you compose your diet easier.
Clean Eating Food List: Protein – the number one nutrient
The human body is mostly made of water, around 70%. The next most abundant component is protein. It’s found in bone, muscle, connective tissue, blood, and skin. Eating enough protein is essential for optimal muscle growth and building a great physique. However, there is a limit to protein consumption after which you will not be building any more muscle tissue unless you’re doing high-intensity strength training workouts to stimulate new muscle growth.
Below is a protein recommendation list based on the current Recommendation for Dietary Allowance, also known as RDA:
- For people who are sedentary and exercise infrequently: 0.4 grams per 1 lb of bodyweight
- For people engaged in daily moderate-intensity exercise: 0.5-0.6 grams per 1 lb of bodyweight
- For people engaged in high-intensity exercises such as weightlifters or professional athletes: 0.7-0.8 grams per 1 lb of bodyweight
- As a general rule of thumb, around 15-20% of your daily caloric intake should come from protein.
A list of good protein sources that should be a staple of your diet:
- Chicken breast
- Lean beef
- Top round/sirloin steak
- Low-fat cottage cheese
Clean Eating Food List : Carbs – the nutrient that provides you with energy
Markets nowadays are filled with products advertising as “low carb” and every new fad diet that comes along suggests decreasing carbs or getting rid of them completely. Diets based on low carb intake will have a detrimental effect on your stamina, as well as your endurance, which proves that carbs are your body’s main energy source.
The way carbs give energy to the body is by providing the muscles with glycogen while exercising and helping to optimize our overall physical performance. Carbs should come from foods that are minimally processed. A good example would be whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
Even though it varies by individual and physical activity level, carbs should comprise about 40-60% of the daily caloric intake.
A list of foods rich in complex carbs:
- Sweet potato
- Baked potato
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Whole wheat bread
- Oatmeal (made from whole oats)
Nutrient Essential for hormone production : Fat
Along with protein and carbs, fat belongs to the three essential macronutrients the human body needs to survive. You cannot live without fat. But not any fat. For example, fats which are saturated are unhealthy and can increase your cholesterol levels, which in turn could cause clogged arteries.
Fats which are considered good for the body are unsaturated fats. This type of fat can help protect against heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels and giving the body an extra boost of energy. If the fat is solid at room temperature, it’s most likely saturated (bad), if it’s liquid it’s unsaturated (good).
List of foods filled with good fats that should become a staple of your diet:
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Fish body oils (EFA = Essential Fatty Acids)
The most essential nutrient: water
Drinking plenty of water during training is crucial to maintaining top-level performance and avoiding injury. The type of drink and how often to drink mainly depends on how long you train and the type of training you’re doing. There’s a certain type of activities such as long-distance running which requires more than just ordinary water, like a special made sports drink which is filled with electrolytes meant to replenish the ones lost in great amounts during training.
It is generally recommended that you drink one 8oz glass of water for every 20 minutes of training.
Incorporating all the above into a new lifestyle
Now, that we’ve got the basics covered, we can incorporate everything you’ve learned into an existing daily routine to achieve an overall healthier lifestyle.
A list of quick tips to make this transition as smooth and easy as possible:
- Cook your food in advance so anytime you think you’re starving, you’ll be less likely to eat junk food.
- Season any meats or fish the night before. They’ll be tastier that way.
- If you try to eliminate all junk food straight away, you won’t be able to handle the cravings later on. Try to decrease junk food intake gradually.
- Chew your food slowly and serve small portions deliberately so you won’t be tempted to eat huge amounts of food. This way you’ll never eat too much.
- Don’t skip a meal, if you do you’ll end up overeating.
- Keep a nutrition journal so you can track your progress and make the necessary adjustments.