Posts tagged ‘carbohydrates’

February 14, 2017

Lunch, Dinner, and Snack Foods that Support a Healthy Lifestyle

Enough generalities, it’s time to talk about lunch, dinner, and snack foods that support a healthy lifestyle. It’s common to view healthy food as scanty, unsatisfying, and tasteless, but there’s no reason it can’t be rich, flavorful, and filling. The key is understanding what your body needs. As far as preparing the food, creativity can reign.

What does my body need from food?

Our bodies need a good balance of nutrients and water. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins. We also need some minerals like iron, copper, and salts. How much of each is needed will vary from person to person depending on age, height, health condition, and activity level.

Rather than attempt to analyze millions of packaged food items, this post will focus on types of nutrients and how much is needed each day. This information can help you compare labels on packaged food or determine how much fresh food to eat.
cucumber salad
Plan to include the following each day:

Protein
Examples of high protein foods: beef, pork, lamb, bison, chicken, eggs, fish, seafood.
Other foods with protein: milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, tofu, quinoa.

Protein is made up of amino acids that help your body build healthy cells. Without enough protein, you can suffer from fatigue, weakness, or muscle loss and your immune system may suffer.

A 3-ounce serving of meat contains about 21 grams of protein and each gram of protein provides 4 calories of energy. Meat also contains fat. In order to keep fat intake at a tolerable level, choose a variety of lean meat, poultry, and fish.

Minimum Protein Recommendation: 46 (women) – 56 (men & pregnant women) grams of protein per day.

Carbohydrates
Examples of healthy high carbohydrate foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes.

Fruits include apples, peaches, pears, bananas, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes, cherries, grapefruit, kiwifruit, avocados, apricots, watermelon, pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, tomatoes, mangoes, dates, plums, figs, persimmons, pomegranate, cranberries, coconut, kumquat, tangerines, olives, nectarines, and papaya.
tomatoes
Vegetables include green beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, onion, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, yams, chard, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnips, celery, cucumber, lettuce, arugula, okra, parsnips, rutabaga, corn, and potatoes.

Grains include those containing gluten that is harmful those with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance: wheat, rye, barley; and those that can be tolerated by those with celiac disease: rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, sorghum, corn* and oats**.

Legumes include English peas, sugar snap peas, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, lentils, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind.

Each gram of carbohydrate provides about 4 calories of energy. Carbohydrates can be broken into two categories — simple and complex. Simple carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables are the healthiest form of carbohydrates. They provide many essential vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Legumes, which can be either simple or complex, are also a source of protein. It is best for diabetics to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn, and some legumes like pinto beans.

If you have a calorie deficit after consuming the amount of protein and fats you need, then adding vegetables, legumes, or fruits for more energy is a healthy choice. Consume 60 – 80 grams of carbohydrates, plus more to meet calorie requirements. Most additional carbs should come from fresh vegetables, legumes, and fruit (240 – 320 calories minimum)

Fats
Examples of foods that contain fat: meat, some fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, bacon, cheese, lard, shortening, nuts, nut butters like peanut butter, avocados, whole milk, butter, cod liver oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and other vegetable oils.

The body needs to consume the fats that it cannot manufacture. These fats help proteins do their jobs. They help the body stockpile nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and they begin chemical reactions used in growth, immune function, and reproduction. Naturally occurring fats may be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature while unsaturated are not.

There’s a category of fats called trans fats that is produced in the gut of some animals. Small amounts of trans fats then appear in foods made from these animals. There are other artificial trans fatty acids created by an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. These trans fats will be listed on labels as partially hydrogenated oil which is no longer considered generally safe in human food and should be avoided.

Each gram of fat contains 9 calories or more than twice as many calories as there are in a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Consume 63 – 97 grams of fat per day (567 – 873 calories).

Minerals and Vitamins
There are recommended daily allowances for many vitamins and minerals and upper allowances for some. Minerals and vitamins are contained in most of the foods listed above. 

Vitamins and minerals are important for bone health, electrolyte balance, thyroid function, and many other body functions like blood clotting and heart rhythm.

Examples of vitamins that you need: A, B6, B12, Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, C, E, K, and folate.

Examples of minerals that you need: Calcium, copper, sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iodine.

In order to get all of these vitamins and minerals, you will need to consume a wide variety of foods. If you have been advised to limit your salt intake, it is important to recognize that many packaged foods contain a significant amount of sodium even though they don’t taste salty. 

Water
Water needs are affected by weight, age, temperature, electrolyte balance, intake of caffeine, intake of sugar, physical activity, your surrounding environment, health conditions, and pregnancy or breast-feeding, so you may need more water than the amount listed here. You will also get water from fruits and vegetables, liquids like tea and coffee, juice, milk, and flavored drinks.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and contributes to the function of every body system. Lack of water can lead to dehydration that can drain your energy, give you a headache, cause weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion, fainting, sluggishness, and an inability to sweat. Severe dehydration over a period of time will cause body systems to shut down leading to life-threatening conditions.

Average adequate intake per day for a woman living in a temperate climate is 9 cups. Average adequate intake per day for a man living in a temperate climate is 13 cups. Plan to drink at least 9 – 13 cups water per day (0 calories).
pizza

Okay, but I like chili, mac & cheese, enchiladas, lasagna, pizza, bread, and cookies.

Of course you like these favorite foods. I do too! Chili contains meat, tomatoes, and sometimes beans. That’s some protein, some fat, some carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals all in one pot. The calories will vary depending on the meat you use. The nutrients will vary depending on the tomatoes and whether you add beans. You don’t have to know an exact measurement of each in order to have a healthy eating plan. It’s more about balance and consistency over time.

That means it’s okay to eat the foods you love. If your favorites are high in starch, sugar, or fat, your new plan may include them once a week rather than once a day. If you forget to eat leafy greens, you may want to add spinach to your eggs on the weekend. The specifics of your health plan can be tailored to suit your taste and the everyday demands of life.

If your plan involves weight loss and you feel it’s important to measure the calories of each and every thing you consume, there are many online calorie calculators to help you record your daily intake.

Now that I’ve given you an overwhelming amount of information, let’s get back to keeping things simple. Next time you go to the store, just let FLAVOR be your guide:
F resh food
L imited packaged, processed food and grain-based carbs
A nimal proteins with the least amount of fat and no additives
V egetable and fruit carbs in wide variety
O rganic from local sources when available & affordable
R epeat each day

Then put the following list in your phone so that you always have it available:
Protein 75 – 100 grams per day (300 – 400 calories)
Carbohydrates 60 – 80 grams + per day (240 – 320 calories minimum)
Fats 63 – 97 grams per day (567 – 873 calories)
Water 9 – 13 cups water minimum (0 calories)

I know it sounds complicated to learn what’s in your food and then choose based on what your body needs, but if you let curiosity be your guide you may soon find labels fascinating. And beginning with fresh ingredients can actually make cooking more simple. We’ll show you how this works when we launch the Cooking2Thrive cooking show that’s being shot and edited now.

To help you as you get started, I’ve listed additional resources below, but if you need help with a specific question, feel free to email support@cooking2thrive.com.

Now get out there and love you some healthy food! After all, it’s Valentine’s Day.

*Corn is a grain, fruit, and vegetable. http://articles.extension.org/pages/36971/please-settle-a-dispute-is-sweet-corn-a-vegetable-or-a-grain-what-is-the-difference-how-about-field-

**Oats are gluten-free, but often contaminated with wheat in the US. Those with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance should choose certified gluten free oats.

Want to know more? Check out these links:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/find-out-which-vegetables-are-the-best-for-you?utm_term=.nd0PPDV7DG#.uv2qqyv1ym

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/how-much-protein

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/protein-fact-sheet

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/good-carbs-vs-bad-carbs?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/carbs.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramid-full-story/

http://www.drperlmutter.com/learn/faq/how-much-carbohydrate-do-we-absolutely-require-in-the-diet/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423102127.htm

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/vitamins-minerals-how-much-should-you-take?page=2

September 30, 2014

We’re bombarded with the words Eat Healthy, but what do they really mean?

Every day we’re bombarded with the words Eat Healthy, but what do they mean? Do any of us really know?

Watch TV news shows for a day and you’re bound to see a graphic that features some combination of the words healthy and eat, eating, or diet in a list of behaviors that can reduce your chances for contracting some chronic health condition – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, seasonal affective disorder, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, and more.

If a healthy diet can help prevent us from contracting all of these horrible things, you’d think we would all jump on the bandwagon so we could avoid feeling bad, doctor visits, side-effects of medicine, higher insurance rates, and a shortened lifespan. It kinda seems like a no-brainer, and yet I’d wager that a high percentage of us really have no idea exactly what a healthy diet is.

The word diet has come to be automatically associated with low calorie or something you do to get skinnier. Since you can be both thin and unhealthy, let’s start by removing our association of diet with calories alone.
healthy meal
A healthy diet combines a good balance of water and nutrients. Nutrients are the components in foods that our bodies use to survive and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins. Also essential to human metabolism are some dietary minerals – salts, copper and iron.

In the broadest view, the best foods have the highest ratio of nutrients to the lowest amount of calories, but you do not have to limit yourself to these foods. You can eat in a healthy manner by maintaining a good balance across all food groups while managing portion size.

In order to know whether you are getting a good balance of nutrients, you must first know what’s in the food you consume. That doesn’t mean knowing what a TV commercial says about it, or what the large marketing terms on a package scream out. In fact, it’s best if you erase the food pyramid from your brain along with packaging that says DIET, no ADDED sugar, WHOLE grain, or low fat. These terms do not mean the food is healthy.

To know what’s in packaged food, you must read the ingredients and nutrition information on the label. To learn the composition of fresh foods, you can use one of the many tools available online.

It’s also good to have some general guidelines regarding how much of each nutrient your body requires. Because everyone’s metabolism is unique, there’s not a single, exact formula that applies, but you can begin with generalities and then observe and adjust to fit your body’s requirements. You may need less or more food than listed based on your age, height, health condition, and activity level.

Here are some general guidelines to healthy food consumption:

Allow the following in your diet each day:
75 – 100 grams of protein, plus additional if you eliminate complex carbohydrates (300 – 400 calories)
60 – 80 grams of carbohydrates, plus additional to meet calorie requirements. Most of the additional carbs should come from fresh vegetables, legumes, and fruit (240 – 320 calories minimum)
63 – 97 grams of fat (567 – 873 calories)
9 – 13 cups water minimum (0 calories)

If you find all of this confusing, just remember to focus on FLAVOR!

F resh food
L imit packaged, processed food and grain-based carbs
A nimal proteins with the least amount of fat and no additives
V egetable and fruit carbs in wide variety
O rganic when possible
R epeat each day

And now for more detail:
protein
Protein Minimum: 46 (women) – 56 (men & pregnant women) grams of protein per day.
Better: 25 grams per meal or about 75 grams per day.

Examples of high protein foods: beef, pork, lamb, bison, chicken, eggs, fish, seafood.
Other foods with protein: milk, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs. nuts, beans, tofu, quinoa.

A 3 ounce portion of meat typically has 21 grams of protein and each gram of protein provides 4 calories of energy. Meat will also contain fat. In order to keep your fat intake reasonable, it is good to eat a variety of lean meats, poultry, and fish. You can also choose yogurt made with skim milk instead of whole milk, raw nuts instead of roasted nuts with oil, and you can cook beans with chicken stock rather than ham or salt pork.

Protein is made up of amino acids that your body uses to build healthy cells. If you do not get enough, you can suffer from fatigue, weakness, or muscle loss and your immune system may suffer.

veggie carbs
Carbohydrates 60 – 80 grams per day is sufficient.
If you have a calorie deficit after consuming the amount of protein and fats you need, then adding vegetables, legumes, or fruits for more energy is a healthy choice.

Each gram of carbohydrate provides about 4 calories of energy. Carbohydrates can be broken into two categories – simple and complex. Simple carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables are the healthiest form of carbohydrates. They provide many essential vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Legumes, which can be either simple or complex, are also a source of protein.

Examples of high carbohydrate foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes. Less healthy carbohydrates often combined with fats are bread, rolls, wraps, tortillas, cornbread, crackers, cakes, pies, brownies, candy, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pastries, toaster pastries, breakfast bars, breakfast cereal, many protein bars, cookies, french fries, ice cream, ice cream bars, pasta, rice, corn, and oats. Other high carbohydrate foods that should be consumed in limited amounts: sugar, soft drinks, energy drinks, ketchup, maple syrup, cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, honey, jellies, jams, and candy.

Simple carbohydrates are single and double-chained sugars and usually end in the letters ose – glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose. These simple carbs are usually devoid of nutrition in spite of the calories they add. If you get these sugars from fruits or dairy, the fruit itself or the dairy product will contain nutrients. If simple sugars are added to processed food, they provide temporary energy, but no significant nutrition making them empty calories.

Complex carbohydrates are made from many chains of simple sugars joined together. Complex carbohydrates include starch and fiber. Foods containing complex carbs include wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, hops, some beans, potatoes and other vegetables, breads, wraps, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pastries, breakfast cereal, breakfast bars, many protein bars, toaster pastries, chips, and pasta.

Your body will process simple sugars faster than it processes complex carbohydrates. Because we have a cultural habit of eating 3 meals per day spaced 5-6 hours apart, many people have become accustomed to using complex carbs as a way to feel full for a longer period of time. You can eliminate complex carbohydrates and eat more often and still be eating a healthy diet that will give you continual energy. If you eat too little protein, it may be even more tempting to fill up with starchy complex carbs in order to feel satisfied.

Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, pasta, rice, corn, and oats are less expensive to purchase than proteins. For that reason, restaurants, fast food outlets, and the increasingly popular fast casual restaurants have menus filled with an overabundance of carbohydrates and fats combined with small portions of protein. Fresh vegetables and fruits are offered in limited selection because they have a short shelf life and are relatively expensive.

Since many grain based products are fortified with vitamins and minerals, they appear to have more nutrients than the raw grains offer. There’s nothing wrong with added nutrients unless they are accompanied by a high amount of fat, simple sugars, and chemical additives. This is often the case with packaged, convenience foods.

As the public has demanded lower fat food choices, many packaged foods have replaced fats with sugars to enhance flavor. If you read any nutrition label, you may notice that the percentage of the recommended daily allowance of sugar is never listed. The carbohydrates will be listed in grams, but never the percentage of RDA. This is a clever omission to make it more difficult to recognize how much sugar you are consuming in each serving.

Filling up with high carbohydrate packaged foods on a daily basis is not healthy.

(This is perhaps the most debated food group and rarely do medical professionals take a stand other than in relation to diabetes. There are some physicians who believe no carbohydrates are essential, but many vegetables and fruits are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals so most will concede that some carbohydrate consumption can be healthy. A larger group warns against highly processed, high fat, sugary complex carbohydrates. The seemingly largest, and most vocal, group of medical professionals and nutritionists encourage the consumption of whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas so that you will get proper nutrients and enough dietary fiber. Often overlooked in their recommendations is the fact that most breads, cereals, and pastas purchased at the market must be fortified with added vitamins and minerals in order to offer you the nutrients of which they speak. Additional oversights seem to be: 1)Breads purchased in a package will often contain a significant amount of sodium even though they do not taste salty. 2)Fruits, vegetables and nuts contain a large amount of fiber making it possible to get enough fiber without consuming complex carbohydrates.)

fat
Fats Women should allow consumption of 63 – 73 fat grams per day, and men from 77 – 97 depending on age and overall calorie requirements.

Examples of foods that contain fat: meat, some fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, bacon, cheese, salad dressing, lard, shortening, nuts, nut butters like peanut butter, avocados, whole milk, butter, cod liver oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and other vegetable oils. Muffins, cookies, crackers, cakes, chips, fried chicken, french fries, other fried foods, breads, candy bars, and protein bars.

Each gram of fat contains 9 calories which is more than twice as many calories as contained in a gram of protein or carbohydrate. That’s about 120 calories per tablespoon.

The body requires fats that it cannot manufacture. These fats help proteins do their jobs. They help the body stockpile nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and they begin chemical reactions used in growth, immune function, and reproduction. Naturally occurring fats may be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature while unsaturated are not.

There’s a category of fats called trans fats that is produced in the gut of some animals. Small amounts of trans fats then appear in foods made from these animals. There are other artificial trans fatty acids created by an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. These trans fats will be listed on labels as partially hydrogenated oil which is no longer considered generally safe in human food and should be avoided.

Minerals and Vitamins There are recommended daily allowances for many vitamins and minerals and upper allowances for some. Minerals and vitamins are contained in most of the foods listed above.

Vitamins and minerals are important for bone health, electrolyte balance, thyroid function, and many other body functions like blood clotting and heart rhythm.

Examples of minerals that you need: Calcium, copper, sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iodine.

Examples of vitamins that you need: A, B6, B12, Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, C, E, K, and folate.

In order to get all of these vitamins and minerals, you will need to consume a wide variety of foods. If you have been advised to limit your salt intake, it is important to recognize that many packaged foods contain a significant amount of sodium even though they don’t taste salty.

Water Average adequate intake per day for a woman living in a temperate climate is 9 cups.
Average adequate intake per day for a man living in a temperate climate is 13 cups.

Water needs are affected by weight, age, temperature, electrolyte balance, intake of caffeine, intake of sugar, physical activity, your surrounding environment, health conditions, and pregnancy or breast-feeding so you may need more water than the amount listed here. You will also get water from fruits and vegetables, liquids like tea and coffee, juice, milk, and flavored drinks. Most flavored drinks also contain a large amount of added sugar or chemical sweeteners and should be limited or avoided altogether.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and contributes to the function of every body system. Lack of water can lead to dehydration that can drain your energy, give you a headache, cause weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion, fainting, sluggishness, and inability to sweat. Severe dehydration over a period of time will cause body systems to shut down leading to life-threatening conditions.

Now that you know the guidelines – we’ve said it before, but perhaps it bears repeating, the easiest way to know what’s in your food it to prepare it from fresh ingredients. Even when cooking from scratch you’ll make the healthiest choices by reading labels. This will help you avoid added sodium or preservatives that are often injected into meat or poultry. If you notice that a label contains lots of tough to pronounce chemicals, then it is probably best avoided or at least limited.

Again, if you don’t have time to study every little item you consume, then you can always just focus on FLAVOR as your guide:

F resh food
L imit packaged, processed food and grain-based carbs
A nimal proteins with the least amount of fat and no additives
V egetable and fruit carbs in wide variety
O rganic when possible
R epeat each day

There’s nothing more tasty than a perfectly ripe sweet cherry, peach, or tomato. You don’t have to cook them. They are rich in nutrients. They are just three of the hundreds of healthy, fresh foods that you can include in your diet and they prove that healthy can be both simple and delicious. Now get out there and Eat Healthy!

Want to know more? Check out these links:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/how-much-protein

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/protein-fact-sheet

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/good-carbs-vs-bad-carbs?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/carbs.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramid-full-story/

http://www.drperlmutter.com/learn/faq/how-much-carbohydrate-do-we-absolutely-require-in-the-diet/

http://www.pennmedicine.org/health_info/nutrition/not_same.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423102127.htm

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/vitamins-minerals-how-much-should-you-take?page=2

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”