Although there’s an abundance of food choices out there, we teach our clients 5 basic food groups – protein, fats, fruits, vegetables, and starches. Fruits, vegetables, and starches all fall under the macronutrient carbohydrates, while protein and fats make up their own respective macronutrients. It’s a proper balance of these three nutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates that will keep you healthy and nourished. Let’s take a look at these nutrients and how to fit them into your diet.
Protein is a building block for muscle. Therefore, if you want a toned and lean body, you must eat protein to support muscle growth and maintenance. Eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish and whey are all excellent forms of protein.
Fat is the most underrated macronutrient. Most people avoid fats because of their higher caloric content, but the truth is, fats are vital in our diet and without them, there is a tendency to eat too many calories from carbohydrates. This leads to spikes in blood sugar and weight gain. Focus on eating natural fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and coconut oil.
Fruits are easy to understand, but remember that a variety of fresh fruit is the way to go. Fruit provides natural energy and an abundance of nutrients. Don’t be afraid of the “sugar” in fruit but eat in moderation as with everything else and be sure to always pair fruit with the other two macros.
Vegetables are too often neglected and overlooked. If you look at the ratio of nutrients to calories, vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and zucchini will flood your body with nutrients but not drown you with excess calories.
Starches should be limited because of their sugar content and the effect they have on blood sugar levels. Too much sugar eaten at one time could cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, which has negative effects on metabolism and overall health. Bagels, cereal, and bread might be common staples in your diet, but they provide a lot of sugar with minimal nutrients. Limit these types of starchy foods and get more carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.
So if we break that down into a sample meal plan for the day, a 1600 calorie diet would look like this:
|Breakfast – 7 am||Snack – 9:30 am||Lunch – 12 pm||Snack – 3 pm||Dinner – 6 pm|
|1 protein, 1 fat, 2 vege||1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 fat||1 protein, 2 vege, 1 starch, 1 fat||1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 fat||1-2 protein, 1 fat, 2 vege|
1 oz shredded cheese
½ cup spinach
½ cup chopped tomato
|5 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
¼ cup blueberries
1 Tbsp Flax Oil
4 oz chicken breast
¼ cup brown rice
½ cup black beans
1 cup chopped romaine
|1 scoop whey protein
1 Tbsp natural almond butter
|6 oz salmon
1 oz crushed walnuts
4 asparagus spears
½ cup diced red peppers
How does a typical day from your diet compare? Remember, a healthy balance of these 5 food groups is a sensible way to not only ensure a variety of nutrients, but to control your weight as well. Give your diet the thought and time it deserves. Your body will thank you!