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  • Writer's pictureGav O'Brien

PT Gav's Healthy Eating Guide!

Updated: Mar 1

We all know that we should eat a healthy balanced diet but when you begin to read up on what this means, the sheer volume of information can seem overwhelming. For those that seek a healthier lifestyle it’s a topic that’s certainly worth exploring. Here’s the thing; basic healthy nutrition is really quite simple. In fact it’s so simple your friendly Brighton based personal trainer has condensed it down to eight simple steps! Take these onboard and a healthier you, is just around the corner!


Eat real food rather than processed food. What’s real food? Real food is fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains, pulses and beans. Try hard to avoid food that is mass-produced ready-made meals, emulsified and with a long-shelf life stable. Switching to eating real foods naturally leads you to eating more nutrient rich food without much thought.


Look life is for living so it’s perfectly okay to indulge once in a while in a cooked breakfast and even the occasional hamburger. However on a daily basis there is an array of great lean proteins to choose from. Some good meat-free options include peas, quinoa, beans, lentils, tofu, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk. Fish is another perfect source of protein that can also be rich in healthy omega-3’s. When it comes to your weekly shop, cuts of meat that have fillet or loin in the name are usually the leanest and chicken and turkey breast.


When it comes to carbohydrates (carbs) you’ll find the more natural and whole they are the better they are for you. Go for complex carbs such as 100% whole-grain pasta, brown rice, breads, legumes, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy and decent amounts of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you try to reduce your intake of simple sugars from refined grains and in particular processed snack foods, sweets and sugar-sweetened hot drinks.


While many people think a healthy diet is a fat free diet it is important to eat healthy fats as part of a balanced diet. So add avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fatty fish such as tuna and salmon into your weekly diet. And if you cook with oil make sure you choose healthy oils such as olive oil in place of butter or lard. Consider making your own salad dressings with flaxseed oil for a healthy dose of omega-3’s.


Include colourful foods into all your meals from dark greens to red berries, yellow peppers and purple onions. Why? because the colours in fruits, vegetables and even proteins are associated with important vitamins and minerals. So eating a rainbow of colourful foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, is a brilliant way to get a wide variety of micronutrients in your diet.


In its natural unprocessed state sugar is a relatively harmless and even necessary carbohydrate that our wonderful bodies need to function. Natural sugar found in fruits, vegetables and dairy as the compound fructose or lactose is good for you. The problem arises when sugar is added to foods such as ready meals during processing for added flavour, colour and texture. Eating too many of these empty sugary calories has many detrimental health effects, the most obvious being weight gain. Added sugar also drives your insulin levels up, messes around with your metabolism and causes those calories to turn right into belly fat. So keep it natural sugar all the way, and if you can’t drink your tea, and coffee without it being sweet, then plump for a natural sweetener instead!


Make sure that you eat a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats at every meal and choose foods that are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. A great way to do this is to fill your plate with three to four different food groups. Eat a combination of protein-rich foods, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and add in the food groups that you may have missed at earlier meals.


Now as a Brighton based personal trainer I’ll admit I like to snack, I’m always on the go and often the luxury of a lunch-break is not on the menu. However, snack time is when processed foods are the easiest to grab, and I’ll admit the odd Mars Bar passes across my lips but most of the time I go for a smart snack. So arm yourself with real food snacks that are as minimally processed as possible. So what exactly is a smart snack? Well take your pick from these tasty treats:

  • Fresh fruit – apples, pears, oranges and bananas are my go to fruits!

  • Unsweetened dried fruits – think apricots, mango and figs

  • Wholegrain crackers and rice cakes

  • Nuts –

  • Yogurt – a personal favourite

  • Dark chocolate – a little is perfectly fine

  • Celery sticks

  • Carrot sticks

  • Pepper sticks

  • Mozzarella sticks

  • Hard boiled eggs

So there you have it, eight simple steps to healthy eating from your friendly Turre based personal trainer. Now a good diet is one thing, alongside this you should also aim for a more active lifestyle. The general recommendation is to be moderately active for at least 150 minutes a week, so that’s any activity from a 1-hour personal training session with me at my private gym studio here in Turre, or in your home or by the beach, to walking, gardening and even dare I say it housework.

Want to get fitter and healthier?

I offer a free initial health and fitness consultation by phone, Whatsapp or Zoom to identify your fitness objectives. And you can try any one of my small group exercise classes for 2 to 6 people, or one of my personal training sessions for 1 to 2 people for just €10! Sessions are 1-hour in duration. Simply Call/Text/WhatsApp 711 03 22 44 or email and start your fitness journey with me!

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