Giving your body the nutrients you need to be healthy and fit can easily be accomplished with a clear plan for nutrient management. A good place to start is by creating your own personalized nutrient management plan. This plan would include a checklist of all the basic vitamins and minerals you need, what healthy fats and protein you should have, a minimum and maximum amount of sugars and calories, as well as a recommended amount of fiber.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients are bodies need to sustain life, but cannot be produced within our bodies. So it’s important to incorporate a variety of healthy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits in our diets to get proper nutrition. Online you can easily find USDA recommendations for both vitamins and minerals. Incorporating a good multivitamin into your schedule each day helps you make sure you’re meeting those numbers. If you have specific medical conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, your maximum and minimum requirements may be slightly higher or lower. Consult your physician for more information.
Healthy Fats and Protein
Protein and healthy fats are part of a nutrient rich diet. Healthy fats include unsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and a few polyunsaturated fats. They can be found in oily fishes, nuts, and olive oils. Protein should be added by choosing lean selections of poultry and beef and nuts or beans. Making sure your portion sizes are about the size of your fist will help you keep the serving amounts reasonable. Remember, trans fats and saturated fats should be avoided as much as possible. They will raise your cholesterol levels, increase inflammation in the blood, and reduce blood vessel function.
Sugar Maximum and Minimum
Not all sugars are bad for us. There are processed sugars we find in many prepackaged food items that give us empty calories and contribute to weight gain. But milk and fruits also contain healthy sugars that give your body energy, and unprocessed sugars like honey and maple syrup, can provide natural nutrients in an unprocessed form. According to the USDA, no more than 6% to 10% of total daily calories (between 6 and 18 teaspoons) should come from added sugars. When setting your sugar intact, consider the sources of those sugars and try avoiding the processed sugars found in sodas, pastries, and prepackaged foods.
Calorie Maximum and Minimum
Most foods contain calories, even the healthy ones. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough daily nutrients includes calorie management. That means reading labels on the foods you eat, managing your portion sizes, and knowing approximately how many calories you’re eating at each meal and snack. Concentrate on getting the bulk of your nutrition each day while staying within your projected personal calorie goals. Depending on how active your lifestyle is, you may need more calories than the average person (a less active lifestyle will require less). Consult your doctor for a calorie number that will give you the weight loss or weight maintenance standard you need to meet your personal goals.
As you make your food selections throughout the day, remind yourself not to choose foods that have “empty calories,” meaning it has no nutritional value. It will help you keep you nutrient numbers up and your calorie count down.
Fiber is recognized as the stringy componants found in fruits, vegetables, and grains that don’t dissolve in our bodies. They are passed through our digestives systems, removing unhealthy toxins from the body as they are eliminated. Most of us require 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber daily for health. Fiber:
- helps with digestion
- reduces obesity
- lowers cholesterol levels
- can help lower the risk of diabetes and colorectal cancer
When setting your levels of fiber intake, look for whole grains, simple fruits, and vegetables before adding a fiber supplement.
By using simple, existing guidelines, you can create a basic plan to help ensure that you’re getting the nutrition your body needs. Be sure to consult your doctor for tips and specific recommendations that may be necessary for your body.