Start now to get your nutrition in better shape before you’re faced with holiday goodies. Below are some basic nutrition facts and suggestions to get you started now.
Protein is the building block of nutrients, it also takes the body the longest to metabolize –you’re having to burn more calories. Protein, unlike carbohydrates doesn’t affect your insulin levels because it’s not directly broken down into glucose. It does help you to feel full and satisfied. Have some protein before a weight training workout. You want to stick with the leaner sources of protein because the fattier ones like bacon, sausage, dark chicken and turkey meat as well as fatty cuts of red meat can lead to cholesterol clogged arteries as well as higher caloric intakes.
Go for plenty of:
Skinless, white meat poultry
Skim or 1% milk
Lean cuts of read meat and pork
Carbs are what your body uses for fuel. After eaten, they’re broken down into glucose, the body’s primary form of energy. They’re good to eat before a workout, particularly a hard cardio one, to give you energy as well as after a workout to restore your energy stores. Carbohydrates can be categorized down into two groups: simple and complex.
Complex carbs are your vegetables, whole grains, lentils and legumes. They’re loaded with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. They’re known as low-glycemic foods, meaning they don’t contain a lot of natural sugar or raise insulin levels in the body. They help your body to contain a stable energy level rather then the common “sugar rush” you get when eating more refined carbohydrates.
Eats lots of:
Vegetables –try and go for the ones that have the most vibrant colors. They tend to be higher in nutrients and anti-oxidants. Example –eat romaine lettuce and spinach instead of iceburg lettuce.
Beans –all kinds, use them in your salads and soups
Whole grains pastas and breads – Trader Joe’s has a good selection of breads and pastas that are made with whole wheat flour. Make sure the labels read “whole wheat flour”, not enriched wheat flour or even just wheat flour
Whole wheat couscous
Simple carbs contains either lots of natural sugar, like fruits, or contain lots of refined sugar, like candies and baked goods. Simple carbs are easily digested by the body and can give you an instant energy lift –but stick with the fruit for your energy revitalization. Simple carbs that contain lots of white sugar and white flour eaten regularly or in abundance are usually loaded with fat and calories and will also heighten your cravings for them. They also detract from having or maintaining a lean physique. They increase the body’s insulin production which turns on the fat storage mechanisms. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from or eat in limited quantities any white foods including: white bread, white potatoes, white sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta. Also be aware of sweetened cereals –you don’t want the any of the first three ingredients to be a sweetened substance. If you have a sweet tooth, try eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate –it’s less refined and has lots of anti-oxidants.
The list of good simple carbs is short:
Fruit – again go for fruits with rich colors like berries, mangoes, cantaloupe, tomatoes and oranges Eat your apples with the skin on them.
Fats get the bad rap but the truth is your body does need a certain amount of fat to protect your vital organs and to help keep your joints lubricated. They also give you a sense of fullness when eaten within the parameters of a healthy meal. You’ve just got to stick with the fats that are non or low-saturated. Be aware of hydrogenated oils. They’re usually used in crackers, cookies, snack foods and margarines. They’ve actually pumped hydrogen atoms into the fats for texture and taste. They form what are called trans-fatty acids in the body and we don’t really know the ramifications of how the body has to process this unnatural substance. A good rule of thumb with fats is to stick with the ones that stay liquid at room temperature (this will cancel out the can of Crisco)
Olive and Canola Oil
Deep-colored, cold water fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel
Nuts –just watch your portion sizes, they have lots of calories