It’s my daily goal to eat for optimal health and nutrition and to reinforce the fact that “All Foods Fit”. Nothing would please me more than for people to get off the fad diet train and to realize that Dr. Google is not your best friend. Ditch the fad diets ie. the Paleo Diet, the Wheat Belly Diet, the Blood Type Diet, and the Ketogenic Diet etc.
I believe in real nutrition from real food, not meal replacements, protein powders, shakes or supplements. I believe in moderation and variety, not deprivation. Food is one of the joys of living!
Of course depending on your age, stature, gender, and activity level we have the challenge of striving for optimal nutrition within the range of calories that we can expend on any given day. This is where some of us are more challenged than others. The key is to focus on nutrient dense foods. Choose good food value and less empty calories (which are calories with little or no nutrition).
Top Tips for Good Food Value:
1. Choose the right carbohydrates.
2. Limit your animal protein intake.
3. Aim for high fibre.
4. Choose the healthy vs. unhealthy fats.
I want to feel energized all day long. So I choose the right types of carbohydrates, the complex carbohydrates, whole grains, pulses (beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas), and those with a lower glycemic index. The fact is that you get your energy from carbohydrates and you need 50-60 % of your calories daily from carbohydrates. Fruit, vegetables and dairy products are also sources of carbohydrates.
What has really made one of the biggest differences to my overall health has been to implement a Meatless Monday every week. From there I am able to limit my visible animal protein to one meal per day for the remainder of the week. The protein portion size we need is ONLY 3 oz. (75 g.) equivalent to a deck of cards per serving. Tofu, pulses, nuts, seeds and grains are also significant sources of protein.
By increasing the number of servings of fruits and vegetables in our diet, we naturally increase our fibre intake, and we also benefit from a variety of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Eating higher fibre foods helps lower your cholesterol, reduces your risk of cancer and helps you feel fuller longer, which helps you control your appetite too!
Get to know your fats. Being aware of what your food is made of and reading the label is very important. Remember that the label can state that it is trans-fat or cholesterol-free, and there can still be a significant amount of saturated fat in the food. Choose healthy fats more often (such as unsaturated fats and omega-3 fats) and be cautious about saturated fats which is found in palm oils, coconut oil, butter, lard, animal meats and full fat dairy products ie. cheese.
Michelle Deschenes is a Registered Dietary Technologist. She is the owner/operator of ACE Nutrition and Diet Consulting, Kingston’s Weight Loss Specialist, and she is also employed as a Nutrition Manager at St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital. ACEnutrition.ca (613) 876-8894