Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more complicated when it comes to deciding what to eat and drink to stay on track with your fitness goals, it is now becoming more and more important to consider WHEN you are eating.

Trying to follow restrictive diets and depriving yourself of all the foods you love the most is not the best approach to take when your goal is to create a balanced, healthy lifestyle! These restrictions will ultimately lead to failure and you will forever wonder what went wrong and why you can’t stick to anything!

Wouldn’t it be much more enjoyable to eat the things we love, never feel like we are “missing out” and finally be done with the “diet” lifestyle?!

Not to mention, when you live a BUSY lifestyle, trying to stay on top of a “diet” between dropping the kids, hitting the gym, making that 9 a.m. meeting, going out for lunch meetings and then trying to prepare a dinner to please everyone makes this life next to impossible to maintain.

I believe in consistency, balance and NEVER seeing any food as “bad”. This mental switch does not happen overnight, it took me YEARS to realize and feel comfortable with this way of life however, I am confident that this article will assist you in feeling more confident to adopt this mentality and start enjoying all the delicious food this world has to offer!

You are ready to make the change to become the best version of yourself and you are finished with the chicken breast and broccoli diets, but now what? Here is the information you need to know about what is going on in your body during the day and some food combinations suggested to elevate the results you see on the outside!

MORNING:

Your body is in a fasted state (unless you wake up for midnight snacks, no judgement). When your body is in this state Carbohydrate energy reserves are low, fat stores are starting to burn and muscles are in a mild loss state.

Goal? Support ongoing fat metabolism, replenish those carbohydrate levels and ensure the muscle does not go anywhere!

Breakfast really is one of the most important meals of the day. You can read more about WHY in my recent post here. So what should this meal consist of?

Carbs: A good mixture of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Fat: A good dose of essential fatty acids in this important meal is recommended. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, spinach and eggs are GREAT sources.

Protein: Look to include at least one high protein source in this meal to ensure you feel fuller, longer.

SAMPLE MEAL: Scrambled eggs with a side of oatmeal sprinkled with nuts. YUM!


MID-MORNING:

A few hours after breakfast, it is time to fuel ourselves again. Consuming a small, balanced snack to keep blood sugar balanced and to ensure your energy levels do not drop, is important.

SAMPLE SNACK: Apple and yogourt. View some other mid-morning snack ideas here.


LUNCH:

Okay, mid-morning snack has done the job but is starting to wear off. You need some energy to continue to be productive in all of your afternoon activities!

Lunch should be the second largest meal of the day and should contain a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

SAMPLE MEAL: Creamy avocado chicken pasta.


 PM SNACK:

Not sure how many of you feel that afternoon slump. The one where you just want to go home, crawl up in a ball and go to sleep. Sound familiar? That may be because your blood sugar levels have dropped since the calorie dose at lunch and your muscles could be going into a deteriorating zone. Don’t worry, easily fixed with a small balanced snack to get everything back on track!

SAMPLE SNACK: Carrots dipped in hummus.


 DINNER:

This meal is very important not just for the day you are having, but for the NEXT day to ensure you will be ready for all that it holds.

When you go to sleep your body will be doing two incredible things. Your body will be in muscle building stage until about 2 a.m. (ladies, this does not mean huge muscles, don’t worry) and then it will turn to burning mode (muscle and fat).

My suggestion for dinner is to keep the carbs relatively low (do not skimp on them) and pack this meal with protein. A moderate amount of fat should be consumed at dinner time.

There are different kinds of protein, at dinner time the slow-acting protein is best so that when you are sleeping, the meal you have fuelled your body with is still working the magic for you!

SAMPLE MEAL: Steak burrito bowl with guacamole.


 

As you can see, these days it isn’t just about WHAT you eat, but WHEN you eat and WHY you would eat certain foods during different times of the day. This can feel overwhelming, and just one more thing to add to the long complicated list of ways to live a healthy, balanced life. However, by making some small adjustments and once you see the amazing results, this way of life will become second nature to you!

Stay Strong. Be the fire.

Written By Lucy Dunne

Follow Lucy Dunne on instagram @Dunnebells.