As a Registered Dietitian, I have enjoyed working with people as they learn about the food they love, along with the nutrition the food provides them. What I have learned from these experiences is that people are looking for nutrition facts, and simple tips, to eating well and that is what I will do with my CBDiekman.com blog posts!
The basics of nutrition start with – what the body needs to perform at its best, always. When you review the science of nutrition there are some simple basics.
- The body’s main fuel source is glucose which comes most efficiently from carbohydrates.
- To keep the muscles, cells and tissues healthy adequate protein is important
- Fat is source of vitamins, calories and enjoyment so it does belong in a healthful eating plan.
- Variety makes it easy to meet nutritional needs and helps with enjoyment of your food.
If we take each point separately here is how you can build your healthful eating plan.
Carbohydrates are found in grain foods – breads, cereals, pasta, etc.; fruits; vegetables; beans; dairy foods and sugars. For health, it is best to choose more complex carbohydrates than simple carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates are better choices because the breakdown more slowly providing energy over time. Complex carbohydrates are grain foods, vegetables, beans and some small amounts in nuts.
Protein foods help build and repair tissues, muscles and cells. You can find protein in meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, beans, nuts and in smaller amounts in grains and vegetables. A healthful eating plan provides protein from a bit more plant-based foods than animal foods – choose bean dishes, try nuts in a salad or as a snack.
When choosing meat, fish, poultry or dairy aim for more lean cuts or low-fat or fat free choices, we’ll talk more about why later. As far as the amount of protein needed, it varies with body size, age, activity and gender but most Americans do consume enough.
Types of Fat
Fat is an important nutrient to our health and to the taste of food but quantity matters! All fats provide fat-soluble vitamins but when it comes to health the better choices are plant-based fats – so oils, margarines or nuts. Plant based fats have less saturated fat, the fat that appears to be connected with elevations in blood cholesterol. Animal fats have more saturated fats and should be used in smaller amounts.
When choosing fat for cooking choose oils like olive, canola, or soybean. When using fat to top a food or spread on bread use either small amounts of butter or choose a soft margarine.
To Your Health!
Finally, nutrition is about enjoyment as much as it is about how good nutrition keeps us well so we cannot ignore the importance of variety in choosing our foods. Think about building meals around color, taste, and nutrition! We will talk more in future blogs! To Your Health!
About Connie – Connie is a Registered Dietitian with extensive experience communicating in the food and nutrition space. Taking the science of food and nutrition and translating it to simple messages, new products, or exciting menus is her expertise. Making nutrition messages clear, accurate, and engaging aids all consumers.