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Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle

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What does Nutrition for a Healthier Lifestyle actually mean?

1. Protein - In general, we usually eat too much protein. Most people only need the equivalent of 6 to 10 ounces of protein a day or 20% of their total daily calories. Any excess protein you eat will either be used as expensive glucose or get stored as adipose tissue (AKA fat).

The trick is to use meat, chicken & fish as a condiment within a meal, instead of the main attraction.

Instead of an overstuffed deli sandwich, which typically has enough meat in it to feed the entire city of Miami (!!) have 2 to 4 thin slices of turkey breast, lean roast beef or tuna (sans mayo) & add as much tomato, lettuce, onions, sprouts & any other vegetable you can find. This way you can satisfy your protein urge at lunch & still have 4 or 5 ounces of protein left for dinner.

Now, if you can't fathom a meal without a nice, large piece of meat, then eat like a vegetarian would for breakfast &/or lunch & save the larger portion of protein for dinner. Eat oatmeal with nuts & fruit for breakfast & then eat quinoa, beans & vegetables or a baked potato & chili for lunch. Believe me, if you make your alternatives tasty, you won't miss the meat a bit.

Use meat as a condiment at your meal, not the main attraction.

2. Carbohydrates - About half of your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrate foods. If you follow this tip, you will be able to satisfy your hunger & cut back on your protein intake without feeling deprived because these foods add bulk to your meals. If you eat a large portion of vegetables with lunch & dinner, you can help satisfy your hunger with less calories. One cup of raw vegetables is only 25 calories, whereas a cup of pasta is 160 & a cup of rice is 240 calories. If I asked you to eat 200 calories worth of vegetables - or 8 cups!! - you can bet you'd be FULL! Not to mention it would probably take you a good hour or so to eat them. Heck, you'd probably get tired halfway through!

Nearly half your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrate foods.

3. Fat - The major health organizations recommend we obtain about 30% of our total calories as fat. However, as discussed above, the type of fat is very important. Choose the healthier monounsaturated fats as often as possible, while limiting the unhealthy saturated fats - but again, be mindful of the portion because healthy or unhealthy, fat is 100 calories per Tbls.

The easiest way to eat less fat is to be selective. Limit fried & sautéed foods, use less high fat condiments on your food & less oil in your cooking. When you cook with excess fat, the food soaks up the fat like a sponge. Every tablespoon of fat the food soaks up adds 100 calories to the food. You may not see the fat but it's in there!

Monitoring the amount of fat added to foods is especially important when you go out to eat.
Restaurants are very generous when it comes to giving you fat because, whether we like it or not, the truth is fat makes food taste good.

A few good things to practice when you eat out are:

• ask for the dressing & sauces on the side
• ask for items to be baked, poached, grilled
• ask for vegetables, potatoes & noodles with butter or sauces on the side

Notice I didn't say avoid the sauce. Instead, get the sauce on the side. When you do this, you will have control over how many calories you consume from the added fat.

Whenever I think about this, I am reminded of a colleague of mine. One day when we went out to lunch, she figured she would be "good" & order a salad - with blue cheese dressing. Well, it came out with about 6 tablespoons worth of dressing, about 200 calories worth of croutons & bacon bits, all on less than 100 calories worth of lettuce, tomato & onion.

When I told her she was eating a 900 calorie bowl of salad, she almost died! (Luckily she is a nurse!) She would have been better off - & probably more satisfied - by ordering the cheeseburger & French fries she really wanted!

The point is, it's actually pretty easy to eat healthfully. All it takes is a little time & effort on your part to think about the food choices, portion size, the preparation technique & the fat content. Once you've made the right selection......Enjoy!

Well, hopefully I have given you a few suggestions to use on your road to a healthier lifestyle. Just be patient with yourself & don't expect miracles tomorrow. Instead, make small, gradual changes to allow yourself to adopt the habits necessary for healthful living.

Bon Appetit!

If an individualized personal approach is more your style, contact me directly . I will get back with you ASAP to arrange a personalized consultation convenient for you. Together we will design a personalized wellness program to fit YOUR lifestyle.