With so much information in the media about fad diets and what is right and what is not right to eat it can be confusing when knowing what we need to make up the healthy construction of a balanced meal.
The first part of losing weight is making sure that you are eating the right kinds of food in a meal, not skipping meals and starving yourself. Part 2 of our nutrition articles following on from last month’s article: Why Aren’t You Losing Weight?
By following these four steps you will ensure you’re eating healthy and balanced meals:
1. Good quality, low fat protein during each meal (<10% fat)
Although the overall protein amount most people eat in their diet is enough, having it at the right time makes a difference. Every time you eat, this is an opportunity for your body to repair and build new muscle tissue. Having available protein in your blood stream after you eat allows your body to use these amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to be used to build muscle and other important tissues. This has the direct effect of improving your overall lean muscle mass, therefore your natural metabolic rate increases. In increasing your metabolic rate you use more energy doing your everyday tasks, such as walking, working and even sleeping.
2. Eating low-energy carbohydrates – 1-2 cups per meal
You need to eat low energy carbohydrate at every meal. Your brain requires carbohydrate to function and you need carbohydrates to build muscle (protein can not to this alone). If you do not eat carbohydrates your body goes into starvation mode and starts to break down muscle to supply carbohydrates for the brain. This results in reducing your overall muscle mass and reducing your natural metabolic rate.defeats the purpose of strength training and exercising and makes it much harder to lose weight. As your body preferring to store fat so that you have energy reserves when you need them.
Why the choice of carbohydrate matters?
The difference is your choice of carbohydrate. These should be low-energy, high nutrient dense foods, such as pumpkin, green leafy vegetables or red-coloured vegetables such as capsicums (Chat to our staff at MD Health for even more suggestions or a comprehensive list).
The result is even, sustained energy throughout the day, meaning that you‘re are not lethargic and craving carbs. This increases your soluble and insoluble fibre intake, which improves your cholesterol and bowel function in the short and long term.
High-energy carbohydrates are important, but at the right time only. This is after intense strength or fitness exercise to help replenish your body’s natural glucose store, glycogen. At other times, your main energy supply should come from low energy carbohydrates.
3. A source of omega-3 fatty acids (Good, essential oils) – 1 tablespoon per meal
A great source of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed oil or flaxseeds. Omega-3’s are a type of fat that you can not produce by your body and must be consumed and is therefore an essential oil. This oil is part of your immune system that reduces inflammation and reduces your blood thickness, reducing your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
4. Eating the right amount often – Ideally 6 meals a day
6 meals a day sounds like a lot but when you break it down in to 3 meals and 3 snacks or 6 smaller sized meals it is a much more achievable goal. Eating regular meals takes advantage of 3 things:
- You body has regular energy and protein to build muscle and tissues when you need to, without using muscle a reserve, improving your metabolic rate over time.
- Because you’re eating regularly, you don’t ever feel like you are starving. This helps you to avoid overeating at any particular meal and just eating anything because you are hungry. The result are better, long term food choices.
- You can improve your insulin metabolism and glucose removal in the long term. As you avoid the peaks and troughs of high and low energy states, your pancreas is not over worked and you sensitivity to glucose improves over time.
Althought these steps are not complicated, but any change can take some time to make a habit and implement these changes into your life. The secret is to start, don’t keep waiting. It’s okay to not get it perfect, but any effort you can make to implementing the above the better you’ll feel. And the more your practice, the better you will become at constructing a good balanced meal!
Want to know more?
If you want more information on nutrition and clinical exercise at MD Health or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at email@example.com