Healthy eating is not eating to lose weight. If you’re a professional or entrepreneur, you’ll understand that while eating to look good is great, it’s even more important to consume the right foods to help you perform, work, and earn better.
This health stuff has levels to it. There are foods that will aid you in improving your brainpower, increasing your energy levels, and taking your working performance to the next level.
There are habits that will make your life easier and give you a great body and high performing mind on auto-pilot, and there are others that will do the opposite.
In this article, I’m going to share with you 15 healthy eating tips and habits that will help skyrocket your energy levels, heighten your focus, and give you the body you want while also being able to perform at an elite level every day.
Read on if you’re ready to make healthy eating part of your lifestyle and not another crash diet.
1. Eat More Protein
Protein is the king of macronutrients. This is why eating protein is one of the best healthy eating tips. Not only does sufficient protein intake aid in the growth of your muscles and help you recover from training better, but it’s also going to keep you fuller throughout the day.
This is going to lead to far fewer binges, improve your overall focus, and prevent you from reaching for sugary foods. Some good sources of lean protein are white meat, low-fat beef, eggs, whey protein, and Greek Yogurt.
Action point: Aim to eat consume around 1g protein per LB of bodyweight. If you weight around 170LBs, you should shoot for around 170g protein per day.
2. Make Breakfast Optional
Breakfast being the most important meal of the day is a complete myth. Food marketers and cereal companies make a lot of money from pushing this message. There are people who are hungry in the morning, but there are many who are not.
You should not be encouraged to eat breakfast if you don’t want to. If you’re very sedentary (office worker, professional) and spend most of your day at your desk, it’s probably a good idea to skip breakfast.
If you’re very active, have a low body fat percentage, and have high energy demands in the morning, it may be a good idea to have breakfast.
Action point: Skip breakfast if you are not hungry. If you are to have breakfast, opt for a high-protein option, such as protein shakes, eggs, and bacon or smoked salmon.
3. Track Your Food
Food tracking is a great habit to build. Studies show that people underestimate their daily caloric intake by as much as 50%.
If you believe you’re consuming 2000 calories per day, you’re probably consuming near 3000. By tracking your food, you are staying accountable to yourself and more importantly, learning what is inside foods. Learning the different macronutrient content (protein, carbs, fats) of food is invaluable.
Action point: Use MyFitnessPal app to track your food 4-5 days per week. Have at least 2 days off as over-tracking can lead to you becoming over-obsessive with food.
4. More Eggs Are Good
Another huge myth is that eggs are bad for your cholesterol. This is false.
Despite fears surrounding egg consumption and high cholesterol, research indicates no measurable increase in heart disease or diabetes risk from eating up to 6–12 eggs per week.
Eggs are a great source of vitamin B, high in anti-oxidants and protein, and as long as you control your overall calories, there is no negative health risk to consuming eggs.
Action point: Eat eggs as you please. Scrambled, poached, or boiled is the best way to cook them.
5. Say ‘No’ to Vegetable Oil
Aside from being highly processed, vegetable oil is composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are heat sensitive. This means that when vegetable oil is used for cooking and subjected heat, the bonds in the PUFAs are shifted and turn into trans fats that cause oxidative stress and wreak havoc on our health.
This can have negative effects on the gut, arteries, white blood cells, and gene replication that can promote brain disorders in the future.
Action point: Cook using traditional fats such as olive oil, peanut oil, and butter.
6. Avoid Sugar Like the Plague
Most of you know that excessive sugar can lead to excess calories and thus, weight gain. However, sugar is much more damaging to other parts of your body.
Sugar jams hormone signals and clogs nutrient channels, weakening bone and muscle, and slowing neural communication, which can impair mood and memory and lead to dementia.
Sugar stiffens the collagen in your tendons, joints, and skin, causing arthritis and premature wrinkling while interfering with the production of new collagen throughout your entire body.
Action point: It’s near impossible to eliminate sugar fully. However, look on the back of food labels while at the grocery store to see which foods are high in sugar (there will be more than you think). From this, try to gradually limit your sugar intake when possible.
7. Get More Fish
One of the vitamins many people are deficient in is omega-3. This is usually because they don’t get enough fish in their diet and only stick to lean meats.
High omega-3 intake can help improve eye health, reduce the likelihood of depression, and improve cognitive function. Fishes such as Salmon, Mackerel, Cod, and Sardines are excellent sources of omega-3s.
Action item: Try to add fish to your diet at least 2x per week.
8. Increase Your Water Intake
“Oh no, not another guy telling me to drink more water”
Sorry, I am that guy.
While this isn’t really an eating habit, it does apply to your overall nutrition in general. The reason why water is so important is that it is what allows vital organs such as your brain to function properly.
Studies show that even just mild dehydration can impair many aspects of how your brain works. This can lead to a lack of concentration and set you back drastically if you’re trying to perform at your best.
Action point: Aim to drink 4 liters of water per day. Carry around a bottle with you to stay hydrated and always have a glass of water at your desk. If you have difficulty drinking sufficient water.
9. Complex Carbs for the Win
Carbohydrates are split into two different forms: complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are foods such as high-fiber cereals, whole-grain bread, and starchy vegetables and are the best choice for prolonged energy as they are digested at a slow, consistent rate.
This is really important if you work long hours, as these foods will give you a consistent hit of energy throughout the course of the day and stop you from feeling sluggish.
Complex carbs also stabilize your body’s sugar level, which in turn causes the pancreas to produce less insulin. This gives you a feeling of satiety and you become less hungry.
Action point: Consume complex carbohydrates as much as you can as your preferred energy source where possible. Try to keep simple sugary carbs (candy, chocolate, sugary smoothies) to a minimum.
10. Snack on the Right Foods
Snacking can be the devil when it comes to your health.
Not only can snacking bump up your calories and cause you to gain weight but snacking on the wrong foods can leave you sluggish and reduce your focus.
Good snacking options are foods that are high in protein, low in sugar, and low in overall calories.
Action point: Overall, try to keep your snacking to a minimum. If you are to snack, aim to eat boiled eggs, whey protein, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or other high protein options. If they are carb-based snacks, aim to eat rice cakes, high fiber bars, and make sure the snack is less than 200 calories.
11. Don’t Drink Your Calories
An easy way for you to gain weight and consume excess sugar is through drinking your calories (also known as “invisible” calories.
Soft drinks, fruit juices, and certain hot beverages can contain huge amounts of calories and ingredients that you’re unaware of. Adding this to your total food consumption, you can rack up a pretty big calorie number at the end of the day.
Action point: Drink water when you are thirsty, opt for a diet soft drink over a regular soft drink, and consume black coffee with a small amount of milk instead of a sugary Starbucks Latte.
12. Add More White Potatoes to Your Meals
White potatoes are under-rated food. They are not only one of the most cost-effective foods to buy, but they are also the most filling.
A study done in 1995 concluded that boiled white potatoes ranked highest on the satiety index (SI) when it came to foods that fill you up the most. This can be highly useful when trying to keep your calories low, and they still give you energy over the course of the day.
Action point: Add boiled white potatoes to your meals religiously and spice them up with different meat and vegetable options.
13. Vegetables Over Fruit
We’ve heard time and time again, “eat more fruits and vegetables” as though the two are equivalent. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Vegetables contain a higher nutrient-to-energy ratio than fruit and despite having great vitamin and mineral benefits, the fruit is still high in sugar.
Now, I don’t want to scaremonger you here into not eating fruit. It’s better to opt for a piece of fruit than a candy bar when you have to make the choice. However, it’s probably a smarter option to consume more vegetables where you can.
Action point: One apple-sized portion of fruit per day is plenty. Fill your plate up with lots of vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, during the course of your day.
14. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is a lightly caffeinated hot beverage that can help boost your energy levels during the day. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that have strong anti-inflammatory effects.
Action point: Consume Green Tea before 2 pm when low in energy and looking for a boost at work.
15. Be Consistent, Not Optimal
The key to healthy eating is to be consistent. Not every day is going to be perfect, and there are going to be some periods where you make the wrong choices.
That’s fine, as long as you don’t make it a habit. The more that you aim to be consistent and not optimal, the more you will build good systems that will help you make good choices when it comes to healthy eating.