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How to Re-Establish Your Nutrition Plan: The Fundamentals

By Lauren Mitchell, MS, RD, METS I | Sept. 29, 2020, 1 p.m. (ET)

Nutrition Planning

Creating a nutrition plan doesn’t have to be complicated or unreachable. The plan you create, should be personalized for you and not a plan your friend or teammate is persuading you to try. It’s hard to figure out where to start when there are numerous “nutrition experts” out there providing unreachable goals and/or concepts of health. Try these four tips when aiming to re-establish your nutrition plan for your fresh start this Fall.

 

1.    Engage in Goal Setting

Taking time to set new goals for yourself is vital to creating a personalized nutrition plan. Ensuring your goals are realistic, time-bound and attainable are the most important part to creating a new plan. If we set ourselves for an unrealistic goal when we start a plan or new training cycle, then we are less likely to reach our goals or continue the sustained motivation to continuously work towards our goals. Ask yourself these questions: Is my goal realistic/attainable, will I need to break down my goal into micro goals and work week by week rather than feel encapsulated by the overwhelming task? What are the tools needed for me to accomplish this goal? A crucial question to ask yourself is if you are even ready to begin this task. Taking the time to tune-in and assess how you feel and how ready you are to take action towards your goals, will be a key element to helping you achieve your nutrition plan and even taking the first step to creating the change.

 

2.    Plan ahead for meals and snacks

Making time and planning ahead for meals/snacks are vital towards accelerating your nutrition plan. Whether your goals are performance, weight loss/body fat loss, gaining muscle mass and/or enhanced health, it takes time to achieve these goals. Creating an environment by planning ahead for your meals/snacks with nutritious foods can power your performance, recovery and improve your moods throughout the day. After you have your first meal of the day, plan for another meal/snack about every 3-5 hours during the day. This is generally when normal biological hunger occurs. Planning for your meal/snack throughout the day can help you stay on track with your goals, macronutrient timing and your training.

 

3.    Balance blood sugar throughout the day

When planning ahead for your meals/snacks, aim to create a balance of protein, fat and fiber with your meals. Creating this balance with the proper servings of food groups can lead to balanced blood sugar throughout the day, greater metabolic efficiency and fat adaption, reduced cravings, and energy crashes. It is important for your health and longevity to create meals/snacks that provide continuous energy for your workouts without the crash we can get from very starchy food and sugary-based foods. Consuming meals/snacks that promote sustained energy can improve the way you feel throughout the day and power your performance.

 

4.    Learn about Metabolic Efficiency

Every nutrition plan should have a goal to increase your metabolic efficiency to better enhance your training and day-to-day health. Becoming more fat-adapted while at rest and during exercise has numerous benefits such as reduced body fat/weight loss, improved brain health and mood, better sleep, and improved performance and recovery. Ways to effectively enhance your metabolic efficiency starts with what you are eating throughout the day. Balance your blood sugar with the winning combination of protein, fat and fiber. Fiber throughout the day should consist of a variety of produce. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, fiber and best of all can increase your satiety with meals. Throughout the day, a good goal of fruits and vegetables to consume are around 8-12 cups per day. Changing the way you build your plate for meals and snacks, can better improve your metabolic efficiency over time. You’ll feel a noticeable difference after making these small, yet obtainable changes in about one month’s time. Learn more about metabolic efficiency at www.metabolicefficiency.org.

 

Re-establishing your nutrition plan can be made simple with these four steps. Taking the time to first engage in goal setting and see what specific goal is realistic and obtainable is the most important step to take. Following planning ahead for meals and snacks, balancing blood sugar can lead to enhanced metabolic efficiency and greater fat adaptation. The last thought to keep in mind with any nutrition plan, is to slow down your meal times. Rushing through your meals and not putting the fork down between bites, can lead to over-consumption of food. Take time for your meals just as you carve out time for your training and workouts. Use these steps listed above and the most overlooked action item of slowing down meals to re-establish your nutrition plan for this Fall.

Lauren Mitchell, MS, RD, METS I

Lauren Mitchell is a Registered Sport Dietitian at eNRG Performance. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Sports Nutrition and Wellness. Contact her at lauren@enrgperformance.com or www.enrgperformance.com