With so much information about nutrition available nowadays, it can be confusing and difficult to understand. That’s why we created a simple guide to eating for better nutrition outlined by a nutritionist. Keep these four key components in mind as you grocery shop and prepare your meals and you will be well on your way to better nutrition!
All foods are made up of three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The human body requires all three macronutrients for optimal health and cellular function. When eating a meal or snack, focus on filling your “plate” with something from each category. By doing so, you will avoid blood sugar spikes, prolong satiety, avoid post-meal lethargy, and ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that your body needs. Here are some examples of foods containing each macronutrient:
Carbohydrate: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains.
Protein: fish, poultry, beef, pork, dairy, eggs, tofu.
Fat: olive oil, avocado, butter, ghee, nuts, seeds.
Choose Nutrient-Rich Foods
While calories are important for giving us the energy to survive and thrive, our bodies also need vitamins and minerals to function. To ensure you’re eating a healthy balance of both, focus on choosing foods that contain fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals for optimal nourishment, caloric balance, and a happier digestive system. In the photo above, you can see that a colorful salad is more nutrient-rich than a burger with fries and a soda.
Consume a Variety of Foods
Consuming a variety of foods is the best way to make sure you are getting all of the nutrition your body needs. A great way to do this is to purchase vegetables that are in-season. Visit your local farmer’s market, try a few new food each month, or plan out your meals in advance to mix up your diet.
Avoid Overly Processed Foods
The final component of eating strategically is to avoid overly processed foods. When foods are heavily processed, they lose a large majority of their nutritional value. When you are grocery shopping, an easy way to choose less processed foods is to look at the length of the ingredients list. A general rule of thumb is that if the ingredient list is long, a lot of processing has taken place in order to create that food. If a food has no ingredient list, such as an apple or head of lettuce, that means that processing is minimal and there are no added ingredients!