Start your year off with the first bite

By Cole Meagher (ArtSci ' 14)

When it comes to getting into shape there are a few facts that everyone must face. These facts hold true for all people.

1. Hard work comes first. Results follow.
2. There is no magic supplement or exercise that will transform you into a Greek god/goddess.
3. If you are busting your butt in the gym but throwing your diet to the wayside, you will never reach your goal. This third bullet point might be the most important fact and is far too often overlooked.

An analogy the helps me understand the importance of a healthy diet is to imagine your body as a Ferrari; your body is a high-end sports car capable of doing just about anything better than any other car on the road. Your impressive Ferrari will fail to perform the way it's meant to if you fill it with corn syrup, the main ingredient in many high calorie low nutrient foods; that’s the same way you need to address your diet.

Being at university or working a full time job and trying to eat right can be a challenge. The trick is to plan ahead. Make your meals in big batches so you can save time and get 3-4 meals each time you cook.

Sample Dinner:

• Make 4 chicken breasts
• Grill veggies (1 cup/serving)
• Brown rice (3/4 cup/serving)
- Try throwing some of the veggies and chicken on some fresh greens for a salad and top it with a home-made oil and vinegar dressing
- Slice the chicken up and make a wrap out of it with lettuce, avocado and ground pepper.

If you're on a meal plan, eating well in a cafeteria may be tougher; develop these three habits early on to make healthier choices.

1. Avoid drinking any calories. Stick to water, tea or coffee.
2. Only eat foods of colour (this indicates more nutrients) and avoid bland coloured foods like breads, fried foods and pasta.
3. Use a large plate to make a personal salad. This way you can have a bigger salad and fill up on a healthier food. Top your salad with fresh-cut veggies, nuts, cold cuts and avoid the croutons, bacon bits and creamy dressings as these are high sodium and fat.

If you are unsure of what foods are healthy, here are some of my staples.

Remember, these things take time so set goals you can achieve both long and short term. This will keep you motivated and help you become a better you.

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