Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post!
If you haven’t read Anna’s bio and first post yet, I recommend you do that HERE before reading today’s post. Also check out Nicole Elizabeth’s “Body after Baby” guest post HERE.
What in the fridge should I eat?!?!?
Remember in the last post
how we talked about EATING? I even gave you an easy formula to estimate your caloric needs. Let’s discuss WHAT you should eat to meet those needs. No, you don’t have to eat broccoli and chicken for every meal. But let me back track just a bit. Your body requires two things to run properly: 1. macronutrients or macros as we will call them (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), and 2. micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macronutrients will come directly from your diet in large quantities while micronutrients are only needed in small quantities and will come through your sources of macronutrients and other vitamin supplements you may take like multivitamins.
How do you determine what you need to be eating each day for each macro? Oh, I am so glad you asked. 🙂 Everything is done as a percent of your total caloric intake. If you are wanting to lose some pounds, you could do 35-50% of your calories from protein, 30-60% from carbohydrates, and 15-20% from fat.There is never need to have more than 20% of your calories from fat. For example, if you need to eat 1,600 calories a day and you did 40/40/20 (protein/carbs/fat) you would be getting 640 calories from protein, 640 calories from carbs, and 320 calories from fat. But WAIT!!!! Nutrition facts on packages don’t list calories. They list GRAMS!!!! How am I going to count calories when it’s not listed? Well, here is the secret. Each gram of protein and carbs contains 4 calories and each gram of fat contains 9 calories. So let’s convert those calories to grams. Back to our sample 1,600 calorie diet with 40/40/20 percentages. That would give us 160 grams of protein (640 calories), 160 grams of carbs (640 calories), and 36 grams of fat (320 calories). Easy!!!
So back to what to use to fill these requirements. Protein can come from many sources like egg whites, but your main source will be meat: think lean. Fish (tuna, freshwater fish, tilapia, etc. with salmon on occasion), poultry, lean beef (yes, even steak!). Carbs can come from any number of sources, but your best choices are whole grains and other sources of complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, etc. My suggestions for other sources are Ezekiel breads and wraps, because they are one of the healthiest bread sources you can find. Veggies are also a source of carbs, but that is one thing I fudge on in my carb count because they are so beneficial. Think spinach, broccoli, asparagus…anything green and especially leafy, although other sources like cucumbers and zucchini count too. And last but not least, here are fat sources. Don’t think of this “fat” in the same context as cellulite and body fat, because fat in your diet is essential for brain and muscle function as well as physical energy. Healthy fat sources are things like avocados, egg yolks (although it is never recommended to eat more than one whole egg a day), natural peanut butter, almonds, and other nuts. Some of your daily fat will come from your protein sources, so don’t try to trim every last bit of fat from your chicken breast or steak. Yes, cut off the large portions but there will always be a bit inside the meat that just comes with it, and that is ok.
If you struggle with sugar the way so many do, limit what you allow in your house. Ice cream is my downfall, Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food to be exact. My husband will bring it home on occasion, but other than on my cheat day, it’s not allowed in the house! *GASP* Did she just say cheat day?!? (I can read your mind!) I did say cheat day. Sunday is my day where I increase my carbs by about 100 grams. Eating clean all the time is great but it actually does your metabolism good by having a slice of pizza or a burger (staying within reason on your fat intake). It shakes up your metabolism. Literally. So by all means, cheat….but I suggest no more than one cheat meal a week so you don’t undo your hard work to this point.
Disclaimer: All information presented during this event is purely personal opinion and shared for educational purposes only. The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise, weight-loss, or nutrition program. Please note, My Life: A Work in Progress does not necessarily endorse any opinions presented by guest writers during this event. Not all exercise or nutrition programs are suitable for everyone.
Questions or comments for Anna?