How to power up your diet
1 Toss the fake foods Clear out the highly processed snacks (like chips and store-bought pastries), packaged diet foods (think frozen dinners and fat-free cookies), soda (including diet versions) and anything that contains high-fructose corn syrup. Tone it up tip Stick to the natural stuff when it comes to sweeteners. Maple syrup, honey, stevia and coconut crystals are the best alternatives. 2 Prioritise protein You should have four to five servings of protein every day. Protein stabilises your blood sugar levels and keeps hunger at bay. Vegetarian? No problem. Eggs, Greek yogurt, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, legumes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina and almond, coconut and soy milk all pack a protein punch. Tone it up tip Eat a protein-rich snack within 30 minutes of your workout to recover faster. 3 Choose your carbs wisely Opt for nutrient-packed whole grains – like whole oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice and barley – and stick to low GI carbs, like sweet potatoes, fruits and non-starchy vegetables. These foods don’t spike insulin levels. Tone it up tip Consuming low GI carbs prior to your workout can help burn 55% more fat during exercise than if you consumed high GI carbs, like sugary sports drinks.
4 Go for good fats Unsaturated fats like the kind found in avocados, salmon and olive oil can help keep your mind sharp, your skin youthful, your energy high and your heart healthy. Limit saturated fats by eating red meat once a week and sticking to low-fat yogurts. And avoid trans fats altogether; they’ve been linked to heart disease, obesity and depression. Tone it up tip Love cheese? It’s OK to indulge once in a while. When possible, choose soft cheeses, which are lower in saturated fat.
5 Drink a lot and often Dehydration can slow your metabolism, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. The minimum amount of water you need daily is 30ml per kg of your body weight. So if you weigh 68kg, you should be taking in at least 2 litres of water. Tone it up tip Rehydrate after a workout with coconut water. It helps replenish lost electrolytes.
6 Load up on fibre Make it a part of every meal. Fibre keeps your blood sugar levels stable and ensures your digestion runs smoothly. And it can lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. Tone it up tip Snack on raw fruits and veggies. The gorgeous raw-food glow is real!
7 Say sayonara to salt Too much salt causes your body to retain water (which can lead to a puffy face and bloated belly). Avoid high-sodium foods, like soy sauce, tomato sauce, bottled salad dressings, canned soup, deli meat and frozen dinners. Tone it up tip The recommended daily allowance for sodium is no more than 2 300mg per day, but we also recommend limiting your intake to 1 500mg per day.