How to Create Your Own Eating Plan – Part 2 – Understanding Specific Foods

by A Diet Community

Part Two: Understanding Specific Foods and How They Affect Youcreate eating plan

 (You can access Part 1 of the series here – Create Your Own Eating Plan Part 1)

While a calorie is a calorie regardless of which food it comes from, your body metabolizes them differently depending on what type they are.

Food is more than calories; it’s also about nutrition and eating in a way that will help you in your weight loss efforts.

The basic goal of eating is to provide your body the nutrients it needs to function and to do so efficiently.

Although we typically eat for a whole other variety of reasons, this is the only real reason we have to consume foods on a regular basis.

A lot of foods contain what is referred to as “empty” calories. This means that they’re devoid of nutrition. They don’t contain enough vitamins and minerals to be good for you which ultimately slows or prevents you from reaching your health and fitness goals.

If you want to lose weight, you have to understand the basics about certain food groups and which foods they contain to move you closer to where you want to be.

Carbs

Carbohydrates are probably the most perplexing types of food for people because they’re so controversial.

You can choose from the following:

  • No-carb diets
  • Low-carb diets
  • High-carb diets

How do you know how much, if any, of these specific foods you should be consuming?

Carbs are necessary on some level.

They help supply your body the glucose it needs for proper function of your body’s systems and gives you energy to complete your daily activities.

The main thing to remember is that there are some carbs that are better for your body than others.

Complex carbs, usually referred to as “good” carbs, should be included in your menu. These carbs provide quality nutrients and take your body time to digest, making them great options when you’re trying to eat healthy.

Some examples of good carbs are:

  • Whole wheat pastas and breads
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley

The basic thing to remember is that the closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for you.

That’s where simple or “bad” carbs come in to play.

“Bad carbs”:

  • Are more processed, which results in a lot of their nutritional value being removed
  • Are digested by your body more quickly resulting in blood sugar highs and lows
  • Prompt hard-to-satisfy cravings into motion
  • Make you retain water

You will probably find that when you start cutting these types of foods from your diet, your bloating and puffiness will reduce as a result.

These types of carbs are found in your sugary treats like:

  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Pies

Bad carbs are also the foundation of a lot of salty treats like chips, crackers and other snacks.

These products should be limited to minimal amounts because they really serve your body no healthful purpose.

They also tend to be higher in saturated fat, which we’ll get at shortly.

 

Protein

Your body requires protein to:

  • Help build muscles
  • Enhance your immunity system
  • Perform a whole list of other functions

When you eat quality proteins, you tend to have lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.

So, what is a quality protein?

Some of your best protein sources are animal based; specifically lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey and fish.

Make sure you pick cuts that have the littlest amount of visible fat and remove as much as possible on your own before you cook it.

Another great protein option is eggs. People are leery of eggs because they’ve had the question of how their yolks affect your cholesterol levels.

However, research has shown that there is no major correlation between consumption of eggs and increased blood cholesterol. If you’re still not convinced, you can add them into your diet but limit how many you consume.

Some people think that you can’t get adequate protein in your diet if you’re a vegetarian, but you can. You just have to choose plant based proteins, like nuts and beans.

If you take this route, you may also want to consider protein supplements, like shakes, to make sure you get an adequate amount of this necessary nutrient in your diet.

 

Fat

A lot of people believe that in order to lose weight they need to cut fat entirely from their diet, but this isn’t the case.

Your body requires some fat to function efficiently. It helps your digestive system run more smoothly and can keep you feeling full.

If you eat too little fat, there can be negative consequences:

  • Your hair and nails become brittle
  • Your skin is dry
  • If you’re a woman, you can quit menstruating, which is bad for your body

The key with fat is choosing heart-healthy fats, or monounsaturated fats.

It’s the saturated fats you want to limit, if not eliminate completely.

Good fat choices are:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Seeds

These items may be higher in calories, but they’re healthy for your body in limited quantities.

Stay away from the fats in foods like bacon, butter and lard. These have the effect of hardening your arteries and will likely cause health issues down the road.

 

Dairy

The main thing to remember with dairy is to stick to the low-fat or no fat options.

  • Choose skim or 1% milk over whole or 2%
  • Choose low-fat, fat free or Greek yogurt (which is also high in protein) over full-fat or sugar loaded kinds
  • Choose cheeses that are lower fat or fat-free

One thing to consider if you choose the fat-free variety is that they do cook and taste differently, so it may benefit you to stick with the low-fat version and just use a little less.

 

Veggies

Vegetable consumption is one area where a lot of diets lack.

Unless you’re getting four or more servings a day, you need to consider ways of adding these vitamin and nutrient packed foods into your diet.

Not only will they make you healthier, but the fiber in them will keep your digestive system functioning as intended.

You don’t have to just eat them raw.  Add them to main dishes to bulk them up or come up with some creative side dishes that incorporate them.

Try to eat a variety of them as each one has its own special blend of nutrients that your body wants and needs.

 

Fruits

Finally, fruits will round out your diet and make it complete.

Like vegetables, they’re loaded with healthy doses of vitamins and minerals. They also make a great option to high-fat high calorie desserts because they have the sweetness without all the calories.

One thing to be aware of when it comes to fruit is that some have higher natural sugar contents than others. For instance, grapes and bananas have considerable amounts, while melons and berries tend to be lower.

This is important because the sugars in the foods can affect your blood sugars if you eat them alone. To avoid this, try to eat them at the end of a meal or pair them with a protein.

 

Conclusion

There’s room in your diet for all types of foods. The key is choosing the ones that are the most nutritious and help keep you healthy and strong.

Remember, you’re eating to fuel your body and give it the energy it needs. Anything more than that is just unnecessary!

 (You can access Part 1 of the series here – Create Your Own Eating Plan Part 1)

(Part 3 can be found here)


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