Nutritional Strategies

nutrition tips

Eat meals based on Exercise

  • Determine the number of meals and calories based on the amount and frequency of exercise
  • Plan snack or meal 1 to 2 hours before
  • Eat higher carbohydrate meal after exercise
    Eat amount of carbohydrates and proteins based on approximately a 4:1 ratio
  • After a workout meals should be 10 – 20% of total daily caloric intake
  • Eat Starch or Fruit exchange(s) for carbohydrates

Eat protein every meal and snack

  • Eat lean meat to complement proteins (optimizes amino acid ratio)
  • Eat legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts) with grains, seeds, or nuts
  • Eat grains with milk or cheese such as cereal
  • Eat fruits or vegetables every meal and snack 

Dietary Guidelines

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (see vegetables and starchy vegetables)
See Vegetable and Fruit Color Codes
Eat vitamin C rich foods
At least 1 serving a day
Citrus fruit, tomatoes, fresh melons, strawberries
Eat cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family)
At least 3 servings per week
Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, cress, and bok choy
Eat vitamin A rich foods
At least 1 serving every other day
Dark leafy greens, and dark yellow foods
Eat foods with fiber (Rationale)
Whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
Eat calcium rich foods
Milk, yogurt, cheese
Green leafy vegetables, kelp, bean sprouts, tofu, garbanzo beans, canned salmon, sardines, or jack mackerel (with tiny bone particles), oysters, figs, almonds, chestnuts, filberts, sesame seeds.
Eat healthy fats and limit less healthy fats
Include sources of Omega-3 fats
fatty fish, walnuts, flax seed, chia seeds, avocado, beans, winter squash
Consume mono-unsaturated fats (Rationale)
olives, avocado, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds
olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil
Limit consumption of Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fats (Rationale)
salad dressing, mayonnaise
corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil
check food labels for oils high in Omega-6
Adjust saturated fat based on caloric requirements (Rationale & Counter Argument )
meats or meat substitutes
milk and yogurt
Eliminate extraneous sources of Trans-fats (Rationale)
avoid hydrogenated fats
check food labels
Do not exceed cooking oil’s smoke point (Rationale)
Eat according to activity level, body type, and goals
Eat enough adequate calories to sustain energy and maintain metabolism
Find Calorie Requirements
Eat enough calories to keep metabolism high
If calorie intake is significantly low, see Starvation Effect
Make adjustments to diet as energy requirements change
See Calorie Expenditure Calculator
Adjust carbohydrates and calorie intake, according to activity level, body type , and age
Younger or lean individuals as well as those with high activity levels may be able to utilize more carbohydrates and overall calories.
Older individuals and those with excess body fat or low activity will require less carbohydrates and overall calories.
Consider minimum amount of carbohydrates that will sustain energy while maintaining or lowering body fat
See Macronutrient Ratio & Weight Loss Studies .
Consume calories and macronutrients according to goals
Gain muscle
See Building Muscle Mass for systematic approach for muscle mass increases while minimizing fat gain.
Lower body fat
See Diet Development and Weight Loss Tips for systematic approach for fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.
Sports performance or active lifestyle
Monitor progress and adjust diet accordingly
See Diet Development
See Exchange Lists for macronutrients in each food group
Limit refined foods
Eat whole foods whenever possible
Limit white bread, cereals, and other processed foods
Limit sugar consumption
found in soda pop, juices, and sweets
check food labels to detect hidden sugars
see finding sugar on food labels
Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one serving per day
Limit cured and smoked products
Salt-cured, smoked, nitrite cured foods
Avoid plastic food and beverage containers (Rationale)
Particularly when choosing and storing acidic foods or foods containing fats
Especially when heating food in microwave
Avoid commercially canned foods and aluminum cans with plastic linings
see Consumer Reports Video