There is a dizzying amount of nutrition advice available these days and trying to listen to all of it will have you spinning in circles. Your grandmother, on the other hand, received only the nutrition advice given to her from her own parents and perhaps a few of her peers. While her knowledge of nutrition was much simpler than what we have today, a lot of the advice that she used to give to you still applies.
Every time you went to your grandma’s house, she likely had an entire spread of food waiting for you and was never shy when encouraging you to take second and third portions. You burn a lot of calories and so need to eat plenty of food to fuel your activity level.
EAT HOME-COOKED MEALS
Eating out is fun once in a while, but when you cook at home you can make sure you’re putting together nutritious meals that will fuel your next run or workout without all the added sugar, salt and fats that come with restaurant-prepared meals. As a bonus, eating at home is usually cheaper, so you can eat more (see above) for less.
EAT A VARIETY OF HEALTHY MEALS
If you eat a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats, you shouldn’t require a bunch of expensive, fancy supplements to give your body all of the nutrients it needs to function properly.
NEVER GO HUNGRY
Remember how your grandma was always checking in to ask you if you’d like a snack, even if it was only a couple of hours after a meal? You should do the same thing for yourself. Don’t restrict your eating just because you think you “shouldn’t” be hungry or it’s not a proper mealtime. Listen to your body, and if you’re hungry, eat.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
Yes, you want to eat healthily in order to improve performance, but that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect 100 per cent of the time. Grandma understood the need for balance, and knew that eating a piece of pie once in a while was just as important as eating your spinach. Whether you’re in the middle of a big training block, in the off-season or injured on the sidelines, ditch the food guilt and make room for the foods you love so you can enjoy life.
DON’T RUSH YOUR MEALS
Meals are times when you should stop what you’re doing, slow down and focus on enjoying the food in front of you. If you can still hear your grandma’s voice in your head telling you to stop inhaling your food like it’s a race, listen to her. She’s right.
CALM DOWN AND RELAX AROUND FOOD
Sometimes, what or how we eat is not within our control, and that’s OK. One less-than-perfect meal isn’t going to hurt you, nor is eating something different from what you normally consume. Nutrition is only one part of health and does not have to be perfect. Do the best you can, but don’t sweat it when you don’t “get things right” all of the time.