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  • HuskNutrition

5 Common Nutrition Problems and Solutions

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

  • "I can't eat before I train"

  • "I still want to eat Sugar Puffs"

  • "I eat it because it's there..."

  • "I wanted to but life threw me a curveball"

  • "I don't enjoy bland diet food"


All deadly common problems we get balancing our demands between professional, personal and logistical obligations.


You know you need sound nutrition to perform better, recover faster, and prevent injuries and these practical problems can hinder your progress.


Here are common nutrition problems and solutions to help you overcome them.


"I’m at work and don’t get a chance to eat before I exercise”


Solution:


Having things around that are so simple and easy to eat can really save you.


If your colleagues can show up to meetings with a Costa Latte, Gregg’s sausage rolls or boxes of brownies, then I’m sure you can sip a protein powder.


½ cup of oats and a scoop of protein mixed with hot water takes 2 minutes to stir and make porridge. If you prefer to have it cold, use cold milk or even the protein powder flavourings when combined with water can be enough. Drink them straight from a shaker or flask. Grab a couple of squares of dark chocolate and you’re rolling.


On the work desk, keep some dates or bananas and grab 2-3 dates or a banana before training. They will be good to go quickly.


Nakd bars, Graze flapjacks, dried fruits or even liquid carbohydrates such as coconut water or cranberry juice are quick solutions.


Carbohydrates take 30 mins to 3 hours to digest and absorb depending on their glycemic index and how simple the carbohydrates are (lacking fibre and fats). Protein may take 3-6 hours in digestive transit and circulation taking longer to pull energy from.


When in this position, a healthy dose of protein after your workout matters, aiming for a minimum of 30 g.


“I still want to eat cereal”


Solution


No one is ever taking food away from you, most of us have eaten cereal every day of our lives so to remove it would be irrational.


Cereal can be sugar-laden and amount to a large quantity of carbohydrates in one sitting with minimal fibre, fat and protein to help balance blood sugar.


To balance the meal you could try:


  • Cereal becomes part of the meal rather than the whole meal.

  • Choose a smaller portion of cereal with milk.

  • Add a serving of protein such as a cup of soya yoghurt, cottage cheese, quark, protein yoghurts and pouches, boiled eggs, omelettes, grilled back bacon or sausages.

  • Add fruits and vegetables such as roasted or tinned tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, fresh or cooked spinach, berries of all kinds, pineapple, papaya, orange wedges, melon and watermelon.

  • Some days the cereal can be toast instead with this method too.


  • Change what a bowl of cereal might actually look like to you.

  • Choose a fresh fruit base such as a mixed fruit salad or smoothie blend.

  • Use granola, Weetabix, cooked porridge oats, muesli or your favourite cereal.

  • Use Greek (plain or strained) yoghurts, cottage cheese, quark, protein yoghurts and pouches, protein puddings, protein mousses, protein powders mixed with plant-based milk and ready-to-drink protein shakes.

  • Add a source of fat which will help regulate blood sugar, slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates 


Balanced approaches to breakfast increase more nutritional variety and you are still able to eat cereal, with some additions that help that meal keep you full and focused.


  • Can you eat it after you work out? 


Keep it simple, move it to another part of the day to support recovery.


After you train is a prime time to take on medium to high glycemic carbohydrates to replenish energy and fuel the next session.


“I eat it because it is there”


Solution


Immediately, leftovers go in the bin or get used for breakfast or lunch items (dinner leftovers make great wraps!) or even cover leftovers in washing-up liquid.


The meal is done and whatever you have left isn’t where the “waste” came from, the amount you cooked is where the waste came from.


We do not want to waste food so knowing the exact portion sizes works and saves you money too.


If it’s not leftovers and instead packets of biscuits, for example, look to buy pre-portioned versions or decant/store these items in a tin or box to get them out of sight. 


“I plan my meals but life/work/kids throw me curveballs”


Solution


Understanding that your primary target and focus is about energy balance.


That can be over the day, the week or even a month.


Took on too much fuel? 


Take a little away from tomorrow if you’d like. If not, it’s no trouble, just get right back to it at your next meal as usual.


The important part is not giving up trying.


If you’d like to, you can take even smaller amounts away over a longer period of time (5-7-14 days) 


Avoiding overfueling can be down to many factors and having the wrong fuel mix is one of them.


If you want to perform, be strong and grow muscle tissue, then we also want to do our best to acquire protein.


Took on too little fuel?


You still have the ability to perform, food isn’t a lynchpin for the practical, physical ability to undertake a task. 


Nothing bad will happen but understand that performance outcomes may be hindered and you might feel fatigued earlier than usual.


You can still exercise.


However, consider that you might take on some liquid carbs (fruit juice for example) during training and emphasise a meal post-workout to replenish repair and kickstart recovery.


If not today, have a bit more fuel when you can have full control. 


It doesn’t have to be perfect, make it ‘good enough’.


“I don’t enjoy bland ‘diet’ food”


Solution


The first part of this equation is to manage your expectations versus the reality of what you practically need to do because here we are actually focusing on tiny problems that aren’t true.


Your primary goal is energy management.


You can do that by eating any food you like as long as you stay consistent with your application and you can eat them reasonably.


Any food eaten in a reasonable amount is never going to ruin any progress.


It’s common that some of us can tell stories of very restrictive dieting encountering bad relationships with food, having used over-simplified systems that embed incredibly strong beliefs that really limit you.


When you believe there's only ‘one way’ such as ‘keto, or no carbs, points systems etc then you negate the fact that there is more than one way to ‘skin a cat’.


'Only if I had more willpower I could do it


‘If I eat a cookie I WILL eat the whole bag’


I can't improve my body composition and still eat a McDonald’s, I just can’t!


… guess what happens when we tell ourselves and think these?


We do it and it happens.


People tell me these kinds of things all of the time and the reality is we totally can do them. The physical ability to do them is 100% inside of our control.


You don’t need the willpower, you can do it.


You can eat 1-2 cookies, not 12


You can eat out and improve your body composition.


Usually, the people I have these conversations with are ones who have finished a diet, all of the weight returned and more!


They are the people who have followed generic advice from plans that negate who are they and their lifestyles and have only one idea about ‘how to lose weight’, which worked but they hated it, there was too much cardio, too little food and they were leaving restaurants and social events to eat from Tupperware.


Understanding how to monitor your food intake, find healthy reasonable swaps for foods you enjoy and transform meals you already eat, eat out and eat better and if you can’t cook, regulate meals from eateries and food suppliers around you.


There are practical solutions more than ever before to assist you. Food is omnipresent and in modern society, we can always find food.


Managing the nutrition with the body you want relies more on your readiness, willingness and application.


  • Can’t eat a perfect trackable meal, find your own 80% full at that meal. Eat the vegetables first, protein and fat sources second and carbohydrates last. That will fill you up fast.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, do the best you can. If you fail, no stress, get right back on it at your next meal. Self-compassion is better than self-destruction and the next meal can always be better than the last.

  • Importantly, the food you eat does not ever have to be bland.


Make it fit your energy requirements, not the other way around.


Conclusion


It’s comfortable to stagnate in an old routine and it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone to prove that you can overcome obstacles when you least feel like you don’t believe you can do it.


Challenge yourself in all aspects of life to keep growing.


You'll be amazed at what you can achieve.


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