Good nutrition is essential for every individual, but especially for athletes. Knowing how to listen to your body, enjoying yourself while eating, and consuming nutrient-rich foods is undoubtedly the daily routine of some of you. Whether you are part of this category or not, here are 5 eating habits to keep or apply in 2021.
1. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are made to be eaten without much preparation. They are fairly easy to recognize because they contain a large list of ingredients. They are, for the most part, associated with sugar, fat, and other potentially addictive ingredients. Highly processed products are less filling and more hyperglycemic than low-processed products. So try to avoid them as much as possible. If you haven't completely removed processed foods from your daily routine, don't panic, it will be done step by step. Simply start by supplementing your meals with fresh products (fruits or vegetables), reduce sodas, limit white starchy foods (brown rice or wholemeal pasta are better for your body), the same goes for bread, opt for wholemeal or cereal bread. If you want to treat yourself without eating industrial cake or candy, at Näak we have healthy and nutrient-rich energy bars that can be used as a snack.
2. Have a Diversified Diet
Making sure you have a good balance of different nutrients is essential for good health. In order to have a healthy and complete plate, your meals should be composed of several families of foods.
Starchy foods are very interesting for the body because they contain many essential nutrients such as vegetable proteins, B vitamins, fibre and minerals. Fruits and vegetables also provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Legumes provide a certain amount of protein. And plant-based milk provides you with the necessary calcium.
3. Staying hydrated
Fluid intake is essential to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance. Water is the beverage of choice because it is essential for cellular homeostasis. For an athlete and for optimal physical performance, water is all the best drink.
Water is the primary constituent of blood, which contains nearly 83% of it. Water is essential to allow the blood to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, it also promotes the transport of nutrients (vitamins, minerals) to each of the body's cells, while promoting the elimination of carbon dioxide.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water every day will help rid your body of the waste, which is essential for a healthy body.
4. Listening to your Hunger Cues
Listening to your body is essential to have a healthy diet that is in harmony with your organism. The best way to feed your body properly is to respond to its needs when it sends you signals. Trust your body and let it guide you. Each person has different signals, it can be headaches, your tummy may start gurgling, you may have trouble concentrating, or even lose energy. It is important to know that the signs of satiety take about 20 minutes to reach the brain. It is therefore important to eat mindfully and take your time with each bite.
5. Practice Mindful and Intuitive Eating
Practicing mindful and intuitive eating is based on listening, accepting and respecting the hunger signals our bodies send us. All foods provide pleasure, but a different kind of pleasure. Over time, adults tend to lose this mindful and intuitive eating, and create what is called "false hunger". This false hunger can be due to a habit, such as eating in front of the TV; it can also be an emotional hunger to take our mind off of things; or it can be a rational hunger, such as eating because the food is made with good products
This practice therefore invites us to eat when we are hungry, and to stop when we feel full. Food is not our enemy. You must ask yourself the question: "do I enjoy my meals enough?" If you want new ideas, take a look at our recipes!