I wanted to list a few guidelines when it comes to nutrition. Lots of people may get confused with all the latest diet trends and don’t take time to necessarily learn more about nutrition facts. It is so important to learn what is actually good for your body and how to fuel it with food that will give you energy and help you feel great!
I’ve taken nutrition classes at the University and learned a lot from my teacher who was a Registered Nutritionist and also my nutrition books and I would love to share some basics with you to have some background on how to help your body!
A little knowledge will help you make smarter choices to improve your health! So here we go!
Let’s start off with CARBS! Carbs are GOOD, they are GREAT for your body and they are your body’s preferred source of energy! Don’t be afraid of carbs! But we do want to aim for consuming complex carbohydrates. Some examples would be starches found in wheat, rice, potatoes, corn, ect. and dietary fiber.
Sources of Carbohydrates
- Vegetables (ones that you can’t eat raw)
- Simple sugars
40-60% of your calorie intake per day should be coming from carbs! Carbohydrates= Energy for your body. It also is necessary to burn fat. Think whole grains and whole foods!
Fiber intake is also a great way to help your body feel full and satisfied. Men should be consuming 38 grams of fiber per day, and women 25 grams per day. You can increase your fiber intake by eating more fruits, grains, and vegetables. Imagine that!
Sugar intake should be 25 grams for women and 37 grams for men. Sugar is found in foods naturally such as fruits (simple sugars), and starches found in veggies (complex sugars). Because sugar is found in whole foods, additional intake is not necessary. But I’m not saying a doughnut or a scoop of ice cream will hurt you every once in a while.
Next, we will discuss fats. 20-30% of your calorie intake should come from dietary fats. Fats are also a source of energy for the body. There are 4 different types of fats, Trans fat, Saturated fat, Monounsaturated fat, and Polyunsaturated fat. Basically, you will want to stay away from trans-fat and saturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is the good and essential for your body. Polyunsaturated fat is neutral. So, pay attention to the types of fats on food labels and aim for foods like nuts, fish, avocados and other foods that contain omega fatty acids.
One thing my nutrition teacher told us that I always remembered was that we needed fats in our diet. When it comes to eating ice cream (more fats) or frozen sherbet (more sugars) to always choose the ice cream because your body needs some fats, but it doesn’t need sugar. Also, be aware when the label says “reduced fat”, that commonly means the fat is replaced with sugar and keeps the calories close to the same.
Now we will go to proteins, which are the building blocks of body components such as muscles and tissues. They also help you feel satisfied and full. Proteins should be about 10% of your total calories, and some experts recommend up to 15%. Try and eat lean meats for protein or plant base proteins. Keep in mind to get a complete protein from plant bases you will need to combine grain, legumes (beans), or protein packed vegetable.
Good source of protein:
Water, water, water! DRINK water! Water comprises 50-70% of the human body. Your body cannot store water so it is so important that you are drinking enough water throughout the day! Your body needs it. Women need to intake 2.2 liters (9 cups) a day and men 3 liters (11 cups) Water will help you lose and maintain a healthy weight for your body. Your skin and nails will improve. You will have more energy and feel overall great when you drink water throughout the day!
Now the percentages found throughout the blog post are DRIs (dietary reference intakes) from the RDA, EAR, and AI and are acceptable for the majority of the population but some exceptions may apply depending on the physical needs of others.
I hope this was helpful in building a little foundation about nutrition and will help you make smart and healthy choices!