If you have followed Matheson’s health tips here so far, you know that we are all about building healthy nutrition habits that fit your lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle does not have to mean switching to veganism or saying goodbye forever to all of your favorite foods. However, will you have to commit to making some significant changes if you want to see improvements in your health, body function, blood workups etc.? Most definitely.
My advice to those just starting out: Eat. Whole. Foods. You’ve heard of Macronutrients, yes? Let me introduce you to the big three: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They each have a different function in the body. Everyone needs some of all three macronutrients to live a healthy lifestyle day to day.
Protein: Responsible for building muscle, keeping bones strong, and keeping every part of you from caving in on itself. Made of amino acids. That’s right. Any time you see the words “amino acids”, just be aware that it basically means the ingredients for protein. When constructing your nutrition program, think lean proteins like white fish, poultry, egg whites, etc.
Fat: Responsible for sustaining the body with energy to fuel long-duration low-intensity activity. This includes everything from walking, driving, daily life and chores, etc. It takes the longest of all the macronutrients to make its way through the digestive system, and is also the most calorically rich. For good fats, reach first to plant-based fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Some saturated fat like butter is alright, but do try to limit it where you can.
Carbohydrate: You know this one. It is responsible for quick energy. Like I have said before, we all need some carbs for sustainable health, well-being, and overall organ function. If you are trying to lose weight, or even maintain your current weight, a good practice is to save most of your daily carbohydrate intake for the time around periods of the most physical activity, such as before or after a workout or a daily walk, or even yard work. Good carbs to keep in your daily menu are lots of colorful veggies (yes, those are carbs too), fruits, oats, and as little processed/refined sugar as possible. My advice is to try to limit anything with white sugar such as junk food, sweets like candy and baked goods, as well as soda and other sugary drinks like blended coffee.
So, now that we understand a little bit more of what the main macronutrients are, this should give you some guidance when shopping at the grocery store and deciding what to order at restaurants and even drive-through places. Eating in this way can be tough when you are living on the go. Just remember, there is nothing wrong with asking a server for a side of grilled chicken and a side salad when you aren’t sure which menu item is going to be good for you. Next month we will be looking at some more dietary options to take the guesswork out of feeding your body what it needs to be energetic, healthy, and ready to take on the day.