One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to getting fit is managing your nutrition. All the gym sessions in the world won’t matter if you’re not eating properly. However, if you have dietary restrictions, it can be hard to eat for the gym. So many of the foods marketed for fitness are one-size fits all, leaving very little wiggle room for exceptions. If you have dietary restrictions that make eating healthy difficult, breaking things down into their macronutrients may help.
The first macronutrient to worry about is protein. Protein is the building block of muscles, bones, and even hair. No cell in your body can function without a steady stream of protein, so it’s essential to have a good amount of it in your diet. However, if you have a dietary restriction that keeps you from eating meat or even limits the types of meat you can eat, this can be a challenge.
While one of the best sources of protein is red meat, there is no shortage of other ways to include protein in your diet. One such way is with veggies such as spinach and mushrooms. Vegetables like these have proteins in the walls of the plant cells that are easily digested in the body, giving you a much-needed boost to fuel your muscles.
Another way is through supplements. Although it may not be the optimal way to get protein in your nutritional plan, adding things like vegan protein powder to smoothies or coffee is a great way to make sure you hit your daily macro goals. Ultimately, getting the nutrition is what you need- the method is less important.
The second macronutrient to manage is your carbohydrates. Carbs tend to have a stigma in the fitness community, as many people associate them with weight gain. This stigma is almost entirely unfounded. Just like with any other nutrient, an excess of carbs can cause weight gain, but the proper levels are what your body needs.
One of the main dietary restrictions people have when it comes to sources of carbs is needing them to be gluten-free. In meals, many people use pasta or bread as a source of healthy carbs. If you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you may not be able to use these options. You may need to substitute rice or cauliflower for pasta and bread as a source of carbs.
If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can look for your carbs from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The healthy sugars found in fruits and vegetables are a great source of carbs to keep your body energized while obviously containing no animal products. No matter what restrictions you have, keeping healthy carbs in your diet is vital to your nutritional plan.
The final macronutrient to look at is your fat content. Along with carbs, fats tend to get a bad rap because of the societal stigma attached. However, just like any other molecule, they have a job to do in the body. Fats not only protect bones and organs from damage, but they also help store energy and promote protein function. Without suitable fat content, the body can’t work properly.
If you’re on a diet that limits fat content, or you’re simply looking for healthier sources of fats, there’s no need to worry at the grocery store. One of the easiest ways to shop is to look for things that are high in non-saturated fats. Foods such as nuts, avocados, and eggs all have a healthy fat content that fuels your body.
On the flip side, more heavily processed foods such as chips, soda, and snack cakes tend to be higher in saturated fats that don’t have as much nutritional content and slow your body down. By prioritizing non-saturated fats over saturated ones, you can keep your body moving.
Overall, keeping a healthy nutrition plan despite dietary restrictions doesn’t have to be a struggle. When you break things down to macronutrients, it’s far easier to get a clear picture of what you need to shop for.