5 Baby Steps to Big Results


I’m a firm believer that baby steps = big results. Check out these 5 baby steps that can start you on your way to achieving improved overall health!

Each of these steps is geared towards helping you learn your food in order to achieve “balanced” eating. By “balanced” I likely mean something different than what you’re thinking – when I say “balanced” I mean a healthy mix of protein/carbs/fat that you find enjoyable and sustainable for the long haul. In the real world this involves a “balance” of real foods or whole foods and prepackaged convenience foods/dining out.

Here we go!

STEP 1: SLOW DOWN

The first step to adopting healthier habits around food involves making the choice to change. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Eat slowly and actually taste your food. Plan time to read nutrition labels and start to “learn your food” so you can make more informed choices and achieve a more balanced diet.

STEP 2: READ NUTRITION LABELS AND PAY ATTENTION TO SERVING SIZE AND RATIO OF PROTEIN, CARBOHYDRATES, AND FAT.

Part of "learning your food" means reading and understanding what you're looking for in your food. Here's what you should pay attention to, generally speaking, on nutrition labels.

(Note: Apps like “MyFitnessPal” make obtaining and reviewing nutrition information very convenient! I highly suggest setting up an account and logging your food to see how your current diet measures up! While I do love MFP, please ignore the calorie count recommendations it gives as the app nearly always sets caloric intake very low. Instead, wait for Step 5.)

Sometimes serving size is completely misleading so make sure you understand the portion size for the nutrition information provided. Sometimes a serving size is less than what you'd think (and rarely, sometimes more!). So check your portion size so you learn appropriate portion sizes.

As you read this it will likely sound really complicated, but rest assured, it’s rather simple. If you find yourself overwhelmed, just think 3:2:1 (Carbs:Protein:Fat). If you’d like a bit more detail with respect to foods in specific macronutrient (protein/carb/fat) groups, keep reading! If not, skip to Step 3.

Protein. Protein sources should have 2.5 to 3 times higher protein than fat. So if a food has 20 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat, it's not a great choice. Ideally something with 20 grams of protein would have less than 8 grams of fat (20/2.5=8).

Carbohydrates. Carb sources should have at least 2.5 times the amount of carbs than the fat content. When looking at chips, you'd look to see if the fat count was less than half the carb content. As long as a carb source with 20 grams of carbs has less than 8 grams of fat, it's a decent option (20/2.5=8).

Fat. Fat sources are different because you're typically trying to minimize fat in your protein and carb sources and make up any left over ground with mainly just fat. Good sources of fats are oils (olive/coconut), butter, avocados, nut butters, whole fat cheeses, and egg yolks. A quick note on saturated fat: Keep it low. If an item packs most of its fat punch with saturated fat, I'd leave it on the shelf.

Fiber content. Fiber is really important to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight! If an item meets the ratio guidelines and has fiber, it's typically a great choice!

STEP 3: EAT LEAN PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL.

One of the easiest changes you can make is to choose leaner cuts of beef for use at home. The majority of my clients come to me eating 80/20 beef. Eating meat that is 20% fat loads your meal with excess fat while offering only a slight amount of protein. By switching your beef to 90/10 or leaner, you save an enormous amount of fat and add in additional protein! I typically buy 96/4 or 97/3 beef, which is available at most supermarkets. While buying leaner meat can be a bit of a hit to the wallet, shopping sales and buying in bulk makes buying lean meats more affordable. Check out Zaycon Fresh, a farm-straight-to-you company that offers bulk lean meats at very discounted prices.

Chicken breasts, lean pork tenderloin and chops, fish, lean steaks and roasts are all great sources of lean animal protein.