As you all know by now, nutrition is a HUGE passion of mine. It's tough to find a really simple, effective way to explain to people just how to eat to fuel their bodies for optimum performance and health (not to mention looks!) and I must admit, I really despise the traditional food pyramid - in my opinion it is definitely not a healthful point of reference for anyone over the age of 16!
This week, I came across a fab article from one of my favourite nutrition sites, Precision Nutrition (check them out at www.precisionnutrition.com), who have come up with a much simpler, more nutritionally sound eating guide. These guys have created a number of healthy eating plates based on energy recommendations for non-exercisers, exercisers and plant-based eaters and they're so good that I just had to share!
Read on for the simplest, most effective nutrition plan to help you eat your way to a sexy bod this summer... and feel your energy levels sky rocket too!
Precision Nutrition’s Anytime Plate
The Anytime plate recommendations are for those who either don’t exercise — in which case, they’d follow these recommendations exclusively — or for those who do exercise, in which case, they’d eat Anytime meals for every meal outside of the post-exercise period. (More on this in a minute.)
What’s On The PN Anytime Plate
As you can see, most of the plate is full of nutrient-dense, high fibre, low-calorie vegetables. Protein helps with appetite control, maintaining lean mass, and optimising the metabolism. Healthy fats offer myriad benefits. The drink of choice is water or tea.
Choose smaller plates if you’re a smaller person and larger plates if you’re a larger person. And put down the fork when you’re 80% full, not when the plate is empty.
Minimise starchy carbs until after exercise, which is when the body uses them most effectively. And choose whole (less-processed) foods, with local and organic selections when possible.
Precision Nutrition’s Post-Workout Plate
The second plate is the “Post Workout” plate. The Post Workout plate recommendations are for those who perform intense exercise. Eat a Post Workout meal soon after your intense exercise sessions only.
What’s On The PN Post Workout Plate
This plate helps us take advantage of the body’s metabolic response to exercise. It includes starchy carbohydrates and protein, which are great during times of increased glucose tolerance (during the post-exercise period). There's also a good mix of vegetables and fruits.
You’ll notice there isn’t much fat here. A higher fat meal post-workout slows the digestion and the assimilation of protein and carbohydrate. So we recommend getting most dietary fat during Anytime meals and most dietary carbohydrates during PW meals. Keep in mind we’re not suggesting you avoid fat. Just minimise added fat.
Notice that the Post Workout portion is slightly larger, as we add a small side dish of starchy carbohydrates on top of a full plate of protein and fruits/veggies. Of course, one should use smaller or larger plates based on body size.
For the Plant-Based Eater
Although plant-based eaters (i.e. vegans) make up only 1-2% of the population, they’re some of the most nutritionally conscious and proactive individuals. That’s why we decided to come up with a plant-based plate with the help Ryan Andrews, a long-time plant-based eater.
What’s On The PN Plant-Based Plate
A wide variety of non-starchy vegetables, combined with a protein source and healthy fat, should dominate the plant-based eater’s plate, just like the Anytime meal above.We recommend including smaller amounts of minimally processed fruit and starches to meet energy needs. And, as with all meals, regardless of timing or type, adjust plate size and total intake to body size and energy needs. And stop eating at 80% full.
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