What Should I Eat?

What should I eat? is one of the most common questions I hear as a personal trainer. Whether the client wants to lose weight, improve heart health or just eat a better diet—the answers are the same. I have noticed over the years that the clients who lose weight (and keep it off), improve their heart health, and feel energized by their food choices have several things in common. They…

1-Eat Real Food: not shakes, bars, fast food, or processed foods.

2-Eat a Balanced Diet of a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and fiber and anti-oxidant rich foods. They don’t eliminate one type of food (“carbs”) but just keep their choices in balance. However, they do limit sodium, sugar and red meat intake.

3-Know Portion Sizes and Read Labels: they are aware of about how many calories they can eat per day based on their activity level. They read nutrition labels and know the approximate calorie count of the choices in their diets.

4-Drink Water as their main beverage, as well as limited servings of nutritious beverages such as low fat milk and soymilk. They save sodas, diet drinks and alcoholic beverages for special occasions and eating out.

5-Eat Breakfast that includes lean protein and complex carbohydrates. A popular breakfast among my clients is steel cut oatmeal with blueberries, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and low fat milk or soy milk. Another favorite is a poached egg with a slice of whole grain toast and some seasonal fruit.

6-Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently : Three main meals and two to three healthy snacks help balance blood sugars and fuel activity throughout the day.

7-Allow Occasional “Splurges” : to keep cravings at bay, they allow themselves a special treat or snack on occasion. I have one client who eats a nice dessert just on Sundays, and he is fine for the rest of the week.

8-Learn to Prepare Simple Meals: this includes meal planning, shopping and having healthy snacks available. Many of my clients’ meals revolve around salads with different healthy toppings.

9-Take Some Nutritional Supplements, such as a multivitamin, calcium, and fish oil. However, they rely on food as their primary source of nutrition, not the latest fad in vitamins.

10- Weigh Themselves Regularly and make adjustments to their diet and activity level as needed. They try to keep their weight within a range and do not worry about small day to day differences.

These 10 habits are in line with long term studies on weight loss and the dietary guidelines set forth by the U.S.D.A. and the American Heart Association. Which of the above could you integrate into your lifestyle and eating plans? Gaining awareness is the first step in making positive changes in our lives. A good website to help you learn more about healthy food choices, how many calories you need per day and tracking food intake is http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. Exercise and physical activity are only one part of a healthy lifestyle, what you eat is just as (or even more) important.


Beverly Seabreeze is a Health Fitness Specialist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. She enjoys working with (and learning from) her clients at the Corral de Tierra Country Club Fitness Center. She can be reached at bseabreeze@detierrafitness.com or 831-214 -0300.

rev  04-28-11