Nutrition 101

Eating a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That being said… STOP DIETING! It’s all about balance, portion control, and lifestyle changes. Macronutrients are what make up our diet: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each category has choices that are better than others. But, don’t think you need  to cut anything out of your diet completely. I take that back, sugar sweetened beverages should be a no, no! Let’s get into the details.

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Careful Carbs

Carbohydrates are our main source of energy. They are broken down into glucose, better known as sugar. This sugar is used for energy in our cells. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex depending on their structure. Complex carbohydrates provide more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than simple carbohydrates. These carbohydrates take longer to be digested and can help you feel full longer, as well as help control blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates are found in some fruits, vegetables, milk, dairy products, and products with refined or added sugars. Simple and complex carbohydrates can both be perfectly healthful if you choose wisely!

  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Whole fruit
  • Low fat milk
  • Oats or oatmeal
  • Ancient grains
  • Beans and legumes

Lean & Clean Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of our cells. Proteins are broken down into amino acids which help create and repair cells and is important for growth and development. Amino acids can be essential or nonessential. Essential amino acids are not made in our bodies and therefore must come from a food source. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids. Examples of complete proteins are quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, chia seeds, and soy. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein/pound of body weight. On average this equate to 56 grams of protein for men and 46 grams of protein for women.

  • Chicken breast
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Quinoa
  • Greek yogurt
  • Low fat cheese
  • Bean and legumes
  • Edamame (soy)
  • Eggs

Health’full’ Fats

Fats are essential in our bodies. Fat helps to insulate our body and is used as an energy source. When there is no more energy from carbohydrates the body turns to fat. Fats also help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins: vitamin A, D, E, and K. There are multiple types of fat in foods. Saturated and trans fats can negatively impact our health. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower the risk of multiple diseases. Recently, new research has shown that dietary cholesterol does not affect levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Bottom line: we need fat in our diet!

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Unsweetened coconut
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Chia seeds

For information on vitamins and minerals check out my resources page.

Raquel

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