Welcome to the first Nutrition Bites blog entry! Nutrition Bites will appear on a weekly basis and provide insight into the basics of nutrition. Nutrition Bites will sort through the clutter of fallacies about healthful eating and serve-up the facts in an easy to use presentation.
As with any program the best place to begin is at the beginning and the same is true with healthful eating. Healthful eating starts with the right balance of the calorie nutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat. While the right balance will vary depending on body weight, activity level and growth status the basics are the same for all of us.
The right start for healthful eating is with an intake of carbohydrates of forty five to sixty percent of your overall calories, so carbohydrates are close to or the majority of your calories. The important point in choosing your carbs is to choose those that provide the most nutritional value and those that provide more satiety. The best carbs for health include the following.
· Whole grains – breads, cereals, pasta, rice
· Vegetables – fresh or frozen
· Fruits – fresh, frozen or canned in their own juice
· Beans – dried or canned
A quick look at each category provides a glimpse of the best choices for satiety and nutrition. Whole wheat bread, cereals that list whole grain or oats or whole wheat as their first ingredient, brown and wild rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley or faro. Vegetables and fruits that are darkly colored or strongly flavored like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, apricots, cantaloupe, berries and melons provide more health promoting benefits. Beans, of all colors, are excellent sources of fiber, protein, carbohydrates and health promoting compounds and they help you feel full longer. While carbs are essential to overall health, quantity is important; learn the proper portions by visiting Mypyramid.gov.
Next week’s topic will look at protein and how much you need and what are the best sources for overall health.
Tips for the Week
· Read ingredient lists in order to choose cereals, crackers and other grains that are whole grain
· Learn the proper portion size for pasta, rice, cereals and other grains
· Plan to include at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables everyday