Here are five:
Yes, if you're a sedentary weakling, by all means, slake your midnight pangs with a Crystal Light and episodes of Keeping Up with the Real Housewives of the Ice Road Hoarders.
But if you're working to add slabs of muscle to your skeleton, take advantage of your appetite. Don't eat junk food; choose something high-protein that supports your goal. One dessert-like favorite of mine is protein "sludge," made from a scoop or two of chocolate protein powder drizzled with just enough whole milk to turn it into pudding. You could also mix in almond butter, frozen berries, or just eat it plain.
2. Don't drink your calories
Liquid calories can really add up -- which is why they are so awesome for gaining weight! Skip the cola and beer, and make raw milk, 100% fruit juices, protein shakes, and coffee with cream staples in your diet (along with water).
3. Stop eating before you're full
When you eat, your body releases several hormones that summon your digestive system and eventually signal your brain you're full. This takes roughly twenty minutes. So for people trying to eat less, it makes sense to eat a little bit, then wait for that fullness sensation to kick in.
If you're trying to get extra calories in, this is a terrible idea. In fact, think of those 20-minutes as your window of opportunity to get as many calories in as possible before your brain shuts the whole operation down by telling you you're full. And when you've eaten all your food and are feeling full, top everything off with a glass of milk or a protein shake.
4. Don't drown food in sauces and dressings
Vegetables are critical for optimal health; unfortunately, they don't pack many calories and their fiber content takes up space in your belly that could otherwise go to bacon. Salads taste much better when you add goat cheese and olive oil, and those extra calories help your body preserve and build muscle tissue.
And did you know, the only food that doesn't taste better slathered in BBQ sauce is absolutely nothing?
5. Avoid processed carbs at all costs
Processed carbs like bread, cereal, pasta, baked sweets, etc., get a (justifiably) bad nutritional reputation. They are virtually devoid of any nutrition, and they jack up your insulin. A sedentary person should avoid them.
Yes, most of your carbohydrates should come from fruits, vegetables, and tubers (i.e., potatoes and other starchy roots). However, post-workout, your body needs to replenish glycogen and bounce back from its catabolic state. A well-timed double-decker PB&J or a few bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios go a long way toward kick-starting your body's recovery (MUSCLE-BUILDING) process. Slam some delicious sugary carbs immediately post-workout. Just don't get carried away.
In closing, remember my philosophy: stop obeying rules. Do your research, and endeavor to discover the principles that will take you to your goal. Follow those principles and never look back.