12 Nutrition Essentials - Healthy Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Column #119, 4th June 2011
We are what we eat, so it makes sense for the three or so meals we eat each day to contain food that provides us with the nutrients and fuel that builds a strong and robust body and mind. We can read all the healthy food books we like, attend seminars and courses on nutrition, but all this is of limited use unless we put it into action. The ultimate aim is for the food we consume at meal/snack times to be enjoyable and healthful helping us to achieve our goals.
Why is this the Difficult bit?
How many cookbooks have you got? What percentage of the recipes do you use? Do you use them on a daily basis or just every so often? The answers I usually get to these questions illustrate that for some reason or other most people don’t make the jump to actually using recipes because it can be too complicated and time consuming or irrelevant in terms of healthy food for the individual. Many clients initially come to me for nutritional support with a good level of knowledge, but something has prevented them from making this a reality and their breakfasts, lunches and dinners are not the best they could be. For some reason the choosing, preparing and consuming part of healthy eating just hasn’t happened for them. There is a mental block or barrier.
Whatever it is, the important thing is that you can overcome this and produce healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that take you towards your health and performance goals. Read on to get some tips on how to do this. It’s pretty simple really.
4 Steps to Change
In any part of life, change is often critical in getting what we desire. That is true if what we have been doing thus far has not got us to where we want to be. Some people find change easy, for some it is a tricky process. The four steps above briefly involve the following: Developing the ‘awareness’ is the first step where you typically experience that there is a need to change and an associated benefit if you do change something. Of course, this could easily relate to our eating habits where what we consume at the moment is not giving the desired outcome (fatigue, blood sugar problems, intolerance, digestive symptoms). Awareness also involves looking at our beliefs and thoughts around a particular subject such as healthy eating. Without awareness it is difficult to make the eventual change and make it stick.
The next step of ‘understanding’ is critical if we want to find out why what we are currently doing is not working for us, especially when it seems to be working for someone else. So for example, why does eating two slices of toast and margarine for breakfast not lead to an increase in energy, lift in mood and a sustained fullness, which is surely what food is supposed to do – you know, provide health.
Doing some investigation will provide a certain level of understanding, which is a great step forward but if we stopped with being satisfied with this then we would more than likely get stuck or find our progress and change to be slow going. Now, what if you have been eating that breakfast for the last ten years and it is a habit, a routine, a trigger or comfort, something you enjoy even? Step three is ‘disassociation’ which is critical to separate us from the thoughts that do not serve our ultimate goals. For example, your ‘usual’ breakfast or routine five daily cups of coffee are probably more engrained than you realize. It is enlightening to know that you can take back the control, disassociate yourself from these disempowering thoughts and make space for things that work. ‘Reconditioning’ completes the work. Now you can soak up all the ideas and actually put them into practice in your life. Now it is a reality.
Is it making more sense as to why just having the recipe books on the shelf is not enough? This would be jumping straight to step 4 and missing out the foundation of steps 1 to 3. Follow the steps above and you will breathe new life into the enjoyment and healthfulness of the meals you have every single day.
I always maintain that the answer to healthy meals is individual in nature. However, with the above steps in place you can revolutionise your ideas for your first meal of the day. Unfortunately, our typical breakfasts of today have migrated far from what provides us with what the body needs to perform well. That’s why it needs special focus early on. This one change could have a snowball effect on the rest of the day leading to more informed decisions and greater performance. Think of it this way; if you get breakfast wrong, then you are reacting to its effects for the rest of the day. This could be anything from (deep breath) needing a bit of a pickup with a mid-morning cuppa, which disrupts your digestion, makes you miss lunch, leads to hunger in the afternoon, but because you are busy you just grab something processed and quick, when in the evening and a chance to prepare some good food, you overeat, sleep poorly and wake up sluggish, reaching for……….. You get the picture.
This is a familiar scenario to many and one that many are not prepared to compromise on to reach their goals. If their goals are not health related, then no problem, but if they are, then going about it like this is tough way to get there. You might need to completely re-wire your software on this one, but imagine that if you do this successfully, it could completely revolutionise your health, productivity at work, cravings, blood sugar control, hunger, energy levels and mood throughout the rest of the day. Does it make sense to be extremely carbohydrate heavy with ‘foods’ such as cereals, breakfast bars, fruit juice, pastries, croissants and toast – all of which are processed in some way? Personally I’ve never understood why breakfast should be radically different to any meal of the day. I’ve never heard, witnessed or read research to suggest our ‘conventional’ breakfast is nutritious for our bodies. If you are someone who would not feel like eating anything like meat, fish or vegetables first thing, then just consider why your digestive system is telling you it’s not up to the job – seems like we’re back to step 1 and 2 above.
Does your lunch predominantly include bread, pasta or crackers? If so and you are achieving in every area of health and performance, then great but if not, might there be some better options? When we work and our lifestyle is busy its especially rare to see convenient, available options that do not include these foods in some way. There are however, stress-free ways of achieving lunches that do not lead to energy slumps, cravings and lethargy in the middle of the afternoon. You can use your imagination for lunches that include meat, fish and fresh vegetables, but if you want a few more there are specific recipes as part of the Nutrition Essentials Program.
For those of us with busy lifestyles do you find other things taking priority over this meal after a day at work? Picking the kids up, finishing work at home, housework, getting to bed on time etc. A few simple tips can mean that you don’t need hours of prep time to provide a nutritious dinner and even have enough for lunch the next day. To help make healthy dinners a reality there are some extra tips on choosing, preparing and consuming healthy food and tons more info at www.functionaltrainer.co.uk.
Some of us will experience major benefits from getting these three nutritious meals established each day, but for those who need a bit more ‘grazing’ throughout the day, there are a whole host of healthy snacks that support your goals of health.
Over the next few weeks we’ll go into more detail on each topic. For anyone who wants to learn more about these topics there are high-quality online resources that provide this entire program and more.
12 Essential Nutrition Lessons
- Healthy Breakfasts
- Healthy Lunches
- Healthy Dinner
- Cow’s Milk Dairy
- Truth about Fats and Oils
- Raw and Cooked Foods
- The Soy Debate
- Sugar and Alcohol
- Organic Food
Each of the 12 Lessons Includes:
- A VIDEO PRESENTATION that teaches you all they key issues related to that specific topic.
- An AUDIO RECORDING of the lesson that you can download and add to your iPod, MP3 player or even a CD so that you can listen to the information in your car!
- A downloadable presentation, in both PDF and POWERPOINT formats for you to print and follow along with the audio presentation (if you’d prefer not to stare at the computer screen!)
- A PDF ACTION GUIDE, which provides KEY ACTION POINTS for you to implement IMMEDIATELY to enable you to make key the changes that are discussed in each lesson.
- Additional PDF documents with extra information and resources to help you implement each lesson with minimal stress and disruption to your lifestyle.