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Learn the Rules of Good Nutrition

January 29, 2012

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fork with measuring tape, rules for good nutritionNutrition has evolved over the years just like many other aspects of our lives. Through technology we have been able to discover how nutrition can prevent and even alleviate common health conditions. With all the advancements in technology, the competition to differentiate ones nutritional expertise from the pack have caused the common person to become confused. Conflicting diet plans, nutritional assessments and food choices have led us to become a nation with adult obesity rates of more than 25%, and ever more increasing nutritional related illnesses. Part of the problem is the lack of knowledge about nutrition or too much information, and the other problem is people don’t use the knowledge they have. Most of one’s basic knowledge about nutrition is learned from our parents as we grow up, however this is also how we sometimes learn bad nutritional habits. Understanding the most basic good nutritional rules and implementing them are two different steps. First you must learn the rules to good nutrition and then secondly you can start to slowly implement them into your daily routine.

 

1. Always Eat Breakfast

The most commonly known rule to nutrition is to always eat breakfast. Most people hear this from their mothers at an early age. And mom’s right, eating breakfast is the best way to start your day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jumps starts your day, giving you the energy and nutrition. People who eat breakfast are 30% less likely to be overweight, which is funny because people who are trying to lose weight will skip breakfast to eat fewer calories. But by starving your body of food, you body will actually hold on to your fat. Depriving yourself of breakfast will lead to hunger pangs, leading people to eat whatever is around which usually consists of high fat, sugar or processed foods, or fast food. Additionally people who skip breakfast are more likely to take up smoking or drinking.

            Breakfast eaters have lower risks for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Most likely due to the fact that people who eat breakfast tend to consume more fiber, calcium and micronutrients.  By filling up on breakfast you are less likely to consume soda, French fries and fast foods and more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and milk. The best breakfast combines high quality lean protein and complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates provide energy and protein helps to rebuild tissue. Good breakfast foods include milk, eggs, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and dairy. By eating the right combination of these foods for breakfast you stabilize your blood sugar, enhance your metabolism, and improve your cognitive function.


 



2. Portion Size

            The American portion size has doubled over the years. From the size of our cups of coffee to the plate of food served at a restaurant almost every aspect of our diets have increased in size. Portion control is key to any successful weight loss or weight management plan. Unfortunately, Americans underestimate the amount of calories they consume each day and with increased portion size this means weight gain. It is important to implement portion control in all aspects of your diet. Always check the nutritional labels on your food packages to determine serving size. To determine portion size on a regular basis compare common physical objects to your serving size like a piece of fruit is the size of your fist or a piece of meat is the size of a deck of cards. To visualize your serving size measure out your food in cups and then put it on your plate to know how much of the plate it takes up. You should also use smaller plates and avoid family style platters making it easier to go back for seconds or pick at food.  Never eat out of a bag or carton, always portion out your serving sizes even when wrapping up leftovers.


 



3. Drink Non Calorie Drinks

            Americans consume up to 500 calories a day through what we drink. Soda, coffee, fruit juices, mixed drinks, energy drinks and even alcohol have calories, which add to weight gain. Even drinks that are portrayed as “healthy” such as flavored water contain added sugar and added calories.  Water is essential for all bodily functions since the body is 60-70% made up of water. Water has no calories and prevents dehydration and hunger. Green tea is also another non-calorie drink, which has a wide variety of health benefits. 

 

4. Eat Fresh Foods

            Americans are continually finding ways to make food cheaper including processed, dried, canned, and frozen foods. However all of these foods contain added fat, salt, sugar and additives so they wont spoil. Fresh foods are not only colorful but they are full of nutrients, fiber, vitamins and mineral that are essential for the body. We don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. They have no fat, sugar, salt or additives making fruit and vegetables the healthiest foods for the body. Add fresh foods to eat meal for a healthier diet.

 

5. Eat a Balanced Diet

            A healthy diet consists of several different food groups, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It requires eating the basic nutrients in the right proportions. Fill your diet with complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. During busy time sit good to have already prepared, easy meals. That way you don’t get off track by eating out or getting fast foods. Prepare meals a week in advance to save time and avoid having to decide on what to eat.