There is a lot of confusing information out there about what to eat, how much to eat, and what constitutes as healthy! This causes a lot of stress as people just want to have someone tell them what to do!
But like most things in life that are important (career choice, who to surround yourself with, and what your hobbies are), no one can wave a magic wand and tell you what you should do.
You have to figure it out yourself by experimenting, talking to people, and doing the thing!
Nutrition is similar, yes some principles are the same, but when it comes down to it, the healthy foods that my body likes, may not be the same that your body likes.
For example, I love asparagus, but I have to be careful to not eat a lot of it because it really messes with my digestion. Whereas my husband can eat it with no problems!
So how do you start learning what you should do?
First, learn about the basics of nutrition! Then you can start to experiment to see what works best for you.
So without further ado, here is a basic nutrition guide. I’ve included the recommended amounts, the most important thing to know, as well as an action step to help you use this information!
Note: Recommendations below are for women ages 19-30. Check the link at the bottom of the post to see other age and gender recommendations.
Basic Guide to Nutrition:
Recommended amounts: 2 1/2 - 3 cups a day! Veggies can be fresh, canned, frozen (my personal favorite), dried, and you can eat them cooked or raw!
Most Important: Vary your veggies! Not only do you get different nutrients from different kinds of veggies, but it also helps your microbiome.
Your microbiome is the collection of microbes that live inside our bodies and help with digestion, regulates our immune system, protects against bad bacteria, as well as helps produce vitamins.
Action Step: Try a new veggie every week!
Recommended amounts: 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Most Important: Any fruit is good here! You can do fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. The biggest thing to keep in mind with fruits is that 100% fruit juice is good, but you want to strive for having at least half of your fruit intake be the whole fruit.
Action Step: Try eating fruit at night when you get a craving for something sweet! My favorite is sautéing or air-frying apples with some cinnamon sprinkled on them.
Recommended Amounts: 5 to 6 oz, 3/4 of a cup
Most Important: Variety is also super important to keep in mind with proteins! There are animal-based proteins as well as plant-based proteins.
Having a mixture of proteins helps your body get nutrients that are only in certain types. For example, omega-3s are found in certain kinds of seafood and are key to the structure of your cell walls.
Action Step: Try a new recipe for dinner incorporating a new protein! I’ve really enjoyed trying plant-based protein, so let me know if you need a recipe.
Recommended Amounts: 6 to 8 oz, which equals a cup a day!
Most Important: The biggest thing I want to share with you is that there are two groups of grains: whole and refined. Whole grains are those that contain the entire grain kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm) like oatmeal and brown rice.
Refined grains are those that have been milled, which takes out the bran and germ. This allows the grain to have a longer shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber and many other vitamins. Examples of refined grains are white flour and white bread.
The goal here is to make half of your grains whole grains! There’s a lot to be said about refined grains, but by taking the small step to incorporate more whole grains, you add a lot of important vitamins, nutrients, and minerals back into your body.
Action Step: Look at your pasta labels to read more about if they are refined or whole. Try a pasta that is made of whole grains instead!
Recommended Amounts: 16 to 22 grams, about 2 tbsp
Most Important: There are two different kinds of fats out there, saturated and unsaturated. You want to focus on increasing the unsaturated fats in your diet.
Guess what though…there are two types of unsaturated fats monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats! (I know it’s a lot!)
Here are a few monounsaturated fats: olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, and most nuts! Here is where you find polyunsaturated fats: sunflower oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Action Step: Try cooking with olive oil instead of butter!
I hope this helps make nutrition seem not so scary! It's all about learning the basics and then experimenting with what works for your body.
These action steps are not to be done all at once! Try focusing on one a week to give yourself time to try it out. You don’t need to make big changes all at once… baby steps are the way to go!
If you need additional help, let’s chat! Click that book a call button and I’ll talk to you soon.
You can do hard things!
https://www.myplate.gov/: Great way to learn more in an easy-to-read way!
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/: Learn more about healthy fats!