Written By: Miranda Hoffmann – Certified Fitness Trainer, ISSA
Photo Credit: 180 Photography
One of the main issues I see overall when it comes to people eating properly is their ability to pair certain types of foods together to obtain a proper balance of nutrients. The main idea to keep in mind is 3:2:1. Pretty easy, right? Each meal should consist of 3 parts carbohydrates, 2 parts protein, and 1 part healthy fats. Yes, I said 3 parts carbs! Never cut carbohydrates out of your diet unless directed by a professional. So let’s break it down to each part, starting with the carbohydrate. What is it, why do you need it, and what types do you need?
Carbohydrates can be classified three ways: Monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides are simple sugars such as fruit sugars. Examples of disaccharides include table sugars (sucrose) and nonsweet sugar found in milk (lactose). Polysaccharides are complex carbs such as starch and fiber. They are ingested and broken down into simple sugars so that they can later be used as fuel.
The primary function of carbohydrates is to meet your body’s energy needs. It’s the body’s primary fuel source. Carbohydrates are also the primary source of energy for the central nervous system. Because the brain cannot store carbohydrates, it must have an uninterrupted source to function properly. Hence why, when you decide to cut out or drastically reduce your carb intake, you become very irate, angry, and irritable.
So, remember that it is very important for you to consume carbs. You need your brain to function properly, and you also need the energy to make your body function properly. The fiber in carbohydrates also aid in the normal functioning of the intestines, which helps keep your waistline smaller too. So keep the carbs coming, just choose the healthier versions!So what types of carbs do you need in a meal? The easiest thing to remember is to take your 3 parts carbs and break it into two types: starchy carbs and (preferably green) veggies. For example, brown rice or roasted red potatoes with fresh green beans or a side salad. Make sure to have a little more veggies than starchy carbs!
There are two types of protein: Complete protein and incomplete protein. Complete protein sources are found in dairy products, eggs, meat, and beans. Incomplete protein sources are found in foods like pasta, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Protein’s main function is the growth, repair, and maintenance of body structures and tissue. The body’s cells are always making proteins to replace those that are broken down from normal wear. So we eat protein to restore our muscle tissue, from daily wear and also from a hard workout. Protein shakes are great right after a workout to help keep your muscle soreness to a minimum.
The best types of protein are low in fat. Try chicken, turkey, eggs, pork, beef limited to 1-2 times per week, nuts and legumes. Dairy is a good source of protein and high in calcium but has a higher fat content so choose wisely and don’t overdo it if you are trying to lose weight. The amount of protein on your plate should be about the size of a deck of cards.
We all know what fat is, but there are healthy kinds and unhealthy kinds. Fats are the most highly concentrated source of energy. But the higher the fat grams, the higher the calories, so choose wisely!
The best sources of healthy fats are vegetables, olive, canola, and peanut oils, avocados and nuts. Cooking your meats in olive oil or making a homemade oil-based dressing for your salad are great ways to add in some healthy fats to your diet.
The main thing to remember is to eat a variety of foods — real foods — and pair them properly with the nutrients you need to stay healthy and achieve that body you desire. The biggest problem area for most people is their waistline. Remember, abs are made in the kitchen. Eat healthy, enjoy the foods you eat, and see results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Miranda Hoffmann is a Certified Fitness Trainer through the Interna-tional Sports SciencesAssociation (ISSA). She has been working as a fitness professional for over four years and takes pride in helping her clients achieve their goals. Her main focus is on weight loss, healthy weight gain, weight management, nutrition and lifestyle coaching, figure and bikini preparation and posing, and overall health. Whether in a gym setting, in-home training, or her corporate boot camps, you can be assured to get personal quality guidance and results. You can contact Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.