Balanced Eating

When it comes to pursuing a healthier lifestyle, the importance of nutrition cannot be understated. If you’re looking to improve upon your body composition, not only are the calories important, but so are the foods that make up the calories.

When structuring a meal or a snack, always try to include all three macronutrients and fiber. The three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates all play unique roles in the body’s functions, as well as fiber.

Protein: Helps to build and maintain muscle mass, keeps your bones healthy, and the macronutrient keeps you satiated. No matter your goal – maintaining muscle, building muscle, or losing fat, protein plays a vital   role. Aim for 1.2 - 2.1 g of protein/kg of body weight.

Carbohydrates: The primary source of fuel for almost all bodily functions. It’s tempting to try to cut carbs completely out of your diet if you’re looking to lose fat, but unless personally recommended by a registered dietician, this is generally not advised. Carbs give energy to your body so your organs, cells, and tissues function properly.

Fats: For a while, it was thought that low-fat diets were the “heart healthiest” diets and that “fat            creates fat” in the body. We now know this is not true. Fats regulate hormones, manage blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and may enhance brain health.

Fiber: This is often included in your daily carb intake, depending on your method of tracking.  The actual amount of fiber to eat depends on the person, but it’s typically easy to tell if you’re eating too much or too little fiber. If you are having digestive stress: look at your fiber intake. A good rule of thumb is for every 1,000 calories you eat aim for 15g of fiber. If you aren’t hitting that goal and having digestive stress, look at adding more fiber to your diet. Your body cannot break down most fibers, so eating foods with fiber can help you feel full and make you less likely to overeat.

One final note - as more and more people are choosing to take charge of their health, there has been an increase in the number of “health foods” for sale. These foods often have marketing such as “gluten-free”, “plant-based”, or “natural”.  However, upon looking at the nutritional label, you might notice there isn’t as much fiber, some ingredients are questionable, and the fat content might be high. Individually, these are not huge concerns, but be mindful of the frequency of consuming these foods. The most nutrient dense foods are almost always whole foods, so try to have a diet primarily consisting of that for the most health benefits.