Healthy eating shouldn’t be about counting calories but instead what goes on your plate.
Consuming a whole food diet that comprises a variety of vegetables, fruit, lean protein and healthy fats is the key to nourishing your body.
Eating in a relaxed state, mindfully, away from distractions aids with digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
So many people are eating their breakfast while getting school lunches ready or eating lunch in front of their computer at work.
Protein, carbohydrate and fats are known as macronutrients because our body needs relatively large amounts of them.
Protein is essential for growth and repair, to make enzymes and hormone and is necessary for a healthy immune system.
Protein sources include red meat (beef, pork, lamb), fish, poultry and eggs. Vegetarian options include quinoa, buckwheat, tofu, legumes/ beans plus nuts/seeds.
According to 'Eat for Health’ a standard serve of protein is
65g cooked lean red meat such as beef, lamb, pork, goat, kangaroo
80g cooked lean poultry such as chicken or turkey
100g of cooked fish fillets
1 cup of cooked /canned legumes or beans such as lentils, kidney, chickpeas
170g of tofu
To make things a bit simpler, I recommend a piece of lean protein that is the size of the palm of your hand or 2 eggs.
The guidelines recommend 1-3 serves per day and include a variety.
I like to try to include protein in 2-3 of my main meals. If you begin the day with protein such as scrambled eggs or an egg on sourdough with rocket and avocado it will help you feel satisfied, balance your blood sugar levels and help give you sustained energy till lunch.
Carbohydrates provide our bodies with glucose for energy. Eating the right kind of carbohydrate will provide our bodies with vitamins, minerals plus dietary fibre. Carbohydrates are broken into either simple or complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and have the bonus of being more nutrient-dense. Think whole grains, vegetables, whole fruit, plus beans and legumes.
Alternatively, simple or refined carbohydrates include white bread/ pasta/ rice, dried fruit, fruit juice, packaged cereals, cakes, muffins, biscuits, lollies and sugar. These are relatively empty of nutrients but high in calories and are a big contributor to weight gain.
I recommend eating more complex carbohydrates and avoiding or restricting simple carbohydrates.
Eat as close to nature as possible with fresh vegetable and fruit, wholegrain rice, whole grain oats spelt, quinoa and organic sourdough. Find a local baker that makes sourdough from live yeast.
Fill your plate with at least 50% vegetables and salads. If you want to include some rice, pasta or bread (recommended above), choose one of the following: ½ cup cooked grains, ½ cup cooked pasta or a piece of wholegrain sourdough per person per meal.
So what is the difference between good and bad fats?
With many of our foods, it is in the manufacturing process.
Avoid oils that are highly processed and often genetically modified such as vegetable oils (sunflower oil and margarine.)
Less processed, cold-pressed oils such as extra virgin, olive, coconut, flaxseed, avocado and hempseed oils are much healthier options.
Fats occurring naturally in foods such as nuts and seeds, avocado, eggs, grass-fed beef, free-range meats and wild-caught fish are also very good for us.
'Eat for Health' recommends 10g per serve as theses are higher calories. Be mindful if you are trying to lose weight.
I would recommend having a 3 finger portion size of nuts and seeds, 1-2 tbs of healthy oils and ½ avocado daily.
Putting it all together.
You want to nourish your body and feel satisfied by eating a whole food diet with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables (eat a rainbow), lean protein and healthy fats. Avoid processed and packaged foods especially those high in sugar and fats
Have a great day
Eatforhealth.gov.au. (2019). Eat For Health |. [online] Available at: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au.
Barassi,M. (2007). Nutrition at a glance. Oxford,UK. Blackwell Publishing