Lose fat, gain muscle by eating carbohydrates, varied protein sources

Sweet potato with salmon and broccoli is a nutritionally balanced dinner.

  • A 23-year-old woman submitted an average day’s eating for Insider’s Nutrition Clinic to review.
  • A licensed nutritionist advised her to eat more diverse protein sources and more balanced meals.
  • If you would like to have your diet reviewed by an expert, complete this form.

Dawn, 23, submitted her eating routine to Insider’s Nutrition Clinic, where trained dietitians and registered nutritionists offer advice on readers’ eating habits.

She told Insider her goal is to lose fat and build muscle.

Dawn said her lifestyle was extremely sedentary until recently, but she has just started doing 30-minute evening home workouts six days a week.

“Apart from training, I have few opportunities to go out for walks because my job usually requires me to sit at my desk for most of the day,” Dawn said.

“I eat pretty much the same thing every day because it’s more convenient,” she said. “It’s too complicated for me to change the menu every day while making sure I’m getting enough of each food group. I try to have some variety in the day (e.g. eating different fruits at breakfast and dinner).

Registered nutritionist Sophie Bertrand told Insider that Dawn needs to make sure she trains hard, eats enough protein, and doesn’t over-exercise or restrict too much.

“Cardiovascular exercise is important for weight maintenance and overall health, but strength training is necessary for changing body composition and gaining or building muscle mass,” she said. “In addition to this, a well-balanced diet with enough protein is essential to support muscle growth.”

While a calorie deficit is necessary to lose fat, “extreme calorie restriction and excessive exercise is a dangerous path and will not lead to desirable long-term results,” Bertrand said.

Add daily oatmeal Greek yogurt to breakfast

Dawn usually eats overnight oats for breakfast, made with rolled oats and low-sugar soy milk, and topped with thawed frozen blueberries and fat-free vanilla yogurt.

“Dawn eats a nutritious breakfast but could replace her fat-free vanilla yogurt with Greek yogurt,” Bertrand said.

This is because Greek yogurt is higher in protein and non-fat sweetened yogurts tend to contain artificial sweeteners and additives.

She also recommended limiting processed foods because they’re usually easier to overeat.

Eat a variety of protein sources

At lunchtime, Dawn eats a large multigrain tortilla filled with a handful of reduced-fat mozzarella, a dollop of reduced-fat dip (such as French onion, tzatziki, or hummus), prepackaged turkey or chicken breast and leaf salad, she said.

Bertrand said a diet high in quality protein such as chicken and turkey, but also fish, eggs, tofu and legumes has been shown to help with fat loss and maintenance of muscle tone. muscular mass.

Including protein with every meal is great, but Dawn could consider eating a wider variety of protein by having more plant sources like beans which also provide fiber.

“It’s also essential to make sure she gets enough fiber in her diet, as it can promote satiety and support digestive health,” Bertrand said. “A high-fiber diet has also been suggested to help reduce overall body fat.”

Freeze pre-chopped veggies for easy dinner prep

For dinner, Dawn eats fruit (usually two kiwis and another piece, depending on the season) with a big spoonful of natural unsalted peanut butter, sometimes with a cup of soy milk and 20-30 almonds.

Bertrand advised Dawn to eat a more nutritionally balanced dinner, such as sweet potatoes or wholemeal pasta with fish or tofu and vegetables.

“Variety is hugely beneficial when it comes to diet because the more variety there is, the more diverse the range of nutrients the body has to thrive,” Bertrand said. “A simple trick is to freeze pre-chopped vegetables like peppers and onions and bags of leafy greens. You can cook them in batches and easily add them to meals.”

Bertrand also warned Dawn not to dwell on her weight while trying to lose fat, as the number on the scale doesn’t necessarily reflect her progress or health. This is because Dawn may gain muscle or experience fluctuations in water weight.

“You may be happier to ditch the scale regardless of your goals and focus on the quality of your diet and how you feel,” Bertrand says.

The advice in this article is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment.

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