By Nutritionist Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
Food is fuel, and the type of fuel you put into your body helps determine how well it runs! If you stop focusing on what foods to avoid (French fries, pastries, and candies) and focus on the fuel you really need (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean protein), you’ll feel better.
Here are 5 components to include in every meal:
- Water: Water is essential for life and too many of us are dehydrated. Avoid being dehydrated by keeping water with you and drinking water at meals. Our intake of soda pop and other sugary beverages is increasing each year. Cutting out one 20-ounce regular soda a day would result in 26 pounds of weight lost in one year! Drinking water hydrates you without the added sugar and calories.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs have gotten a bad name due to the low carb diet craze. I spend a lot of my time educating clients on healthy carbs and the importance of adequate carbs. Our body requires carbs for energy. Healthy carbs to include at your meals include whole grains like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. Fruits and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) provide a fiber-packed source of carbs.
- Protein: Protein is needed for building, maintaining, and repairing body tissue, organs, and muscles. Including some lean protein at all your meals can help give you a sense of fullness and round out your meal. Lean protein comes from legumes, low-fat dairy products, soy products (like tofu and veggie burgers), and lean meats (such as chicken and fish).
- Fat: Healthy fats are essential to your diet and provide a sense of fullness after a meal. Good choices include monounsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), flax seed, and English walnuts.
- Vitamins and Minerals: If you include healthy choices of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats then you will be meeting your vitamin and mineral needs. You can meet your nutrient needs with a healthy, balanced diet. Junk foods say “not a significant source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, or Iron” on the food label. Look for foods that are good sources of vitamins and minerals.
When you sit down to a meal, think about what you are putting in your mouth. Fuel your body with a healthy, balanced diet and you will be energized.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Unity Point-Trinity. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|