Eating right is a constant struggle for many people. There are many things that can get in the way of eating right, such as temptations, conflicting advice on what is right, getting caught up in diet fads, and simply not knowing what you should and should not be eating in any given day. Luckily, the following nutritional guide can help. It goes over the benefits of nutrition, the food pyramid, foods to eat and avoid, what vitamins and nutrients you get from eating right, and helpful tips for moving forward to a healthier you.
The Importance of Nutrition
Nutrition is based on getting a certain amount of nutrients into your body. These nutrients are important for battling against chronic diseases, maintaining proper physical, emotional and mental health, getting proper energy and avoiding obesity which can lead to a number of other complications. There are six categories of nutrients you need to include in your daily diet, including water, vitamins, minerals, lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. All of these are essential to a balanced diet, losing or maintaining a healthy weight, and fighting against diseases or serious medical conditions.
The Food Pyramid
The Food Pyramid, or the Food Guide Pyramid, has been around for a long time. It continues changing periodically when new studies are released about what nutrients are needed and what percentage of them are advisable for children and adults. The Food Pyramid is a guide used so that you can meet necessary nutritional requirements every day. It is split up into the major food groups, including grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat and beans. The majority of your foods should be fitting into these important food groups. MyPyramid, the main food pyramid, provides recommended serving sizes of each of these food groups.
How to Read Food Labels
Food labels are located on all foods, and provide you with important information regarding the nutrients of that food. Not only do they give you the nutrients, but the percentage of each, the recommended portion size and ingredients. When reading food labels, read each important part of the label. You want to look at the calories, fat, carbohydrates and proteins, the portion size of the food and how many servings per container, the Daily Value percentage of different nutrients, and the ingredients list. All of this information combined will tell you if it is a good choice or not. Ingredients are listed by content, so if it starts with water, it has more water than any of the other ingredients listed.
Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery shopping can be a struggle when you’re focusing on ingredient labels, trying to find nutritious foods, and also paying attention to low-calorie or low-fat foods. A good tip for grocery shopping is to stay within he perimeter of the store for most of your groceries. This is where you can access all of the essentials, like fresh produce, meat and fish, the deli counter for sliced meat and cheese, bread products, and dairy products. Most whole and fresh foods are going to be located in these sections. The only time you need the middle aisles are for grocery staples and necessary ingredients.
Next, you will need to become familiar with the different nutrients of your foods. Here are some of the nutrients you need and where to get them:
Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates include things like fiber, starch and sugars, and are made of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. They help to provide your body with energy and can be found in fruits and vegetables, dairy, and whole grains.
Fats – Fats are found in a lot of sources, but you want the healthier fats. Fat is a type of lipid, which is one of the nutrients you need for your body. They help you perform physiologically, and also supply you with energy. Good fats include olives, avocadoes, olive and vegetable oil, and some fish. Avoid unhealthy fat sources like butter and margarine, cream, full fat dairy, baked goods, and fried foods.
Proteins – Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids that you need, which help you speed up your metabolism, give you energy, move your body’s molecules, and regulate balance. Protein is found I meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans, and fish.
Water is important to every living thing, including people. You need to stay hydrated and drink enough water for balancing the amount of fluids in your cells, excreting waste, transporting important nutrients, and regulating your muscle and nerve function. You must replace water lost every day, since your body is not able to store enough to live on every day. The amount of water you need is on minimum eight glasses a day, but if you are physically active, you may need to drink more. Newer advice recommends drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water.
When you are striving to lose weight or just get into a healthier state, proper nutrition is the key.