Day 3 Healthy Eating: The good, the bad and the best of carbs/fats/protein

By now, you’ve gotten into the habit of recording what you eat, which not only helps you keep track of the progress you’re making, but also makes you more aware of how you’re eating—and what you’re eating.

You’ve also learned to think of foods in terms of which food group they belong to, and to balance your meals based on how well you’re meeting Health Canada’s food group suggestions.

Now that you’ve built the foundation, it’s time to start improving upon it.

The good and the bad carbs

Carbohydrates give your body energy. About 50% of the calories you consume daily should come from carbohydrates (this information comes from Claudine Gandolfi’s book, the diet & fitness journal).

Good carbs:

  • Whole wheat flour (not enriched)
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Whole wheat pasta, brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes, yams
  • Dark chocolate (start cheering!)

Bad carbs:

  • White flour
  • White toast
  • Pasta, rice
  • White potatoes
  • Milk chocolate

The good and the bad fats

Say this with me: Fat is not bad for you. I know it goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, but fat is one of the three essentials for your body (carbohydrates, fat and protein). Your brain is 70% fat—do you really want to compromise that? Fat helps your body absorb certain vitamins (A, D, E and K) and without it, your liver won’t be able to break down the fat you have now.

It’s all about eating the RIGHT fats. So, no, I didn’t mean that candy is good for you. About 15% to 25% of your daily calorie intake should come from good fat.

Good fats:

  • Poly- and monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocados, olive and canola oil)
  • Vinaigrettes
  • Broth-based soups
  • Olive oil and garlic
  • Skim/fat-free milk
  • Low-fat or fat-free cheeses and yogurts

Note: If you’re of a healthy weight, don’t replace your yogurt with low fat. As my dad says, I really need all the good fat I can get from those things. Fat isn’t the enemy—it’s the source of the fat, and how much you eat.

Bad fats:

  • Saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated oils, margarines)
  • Fried foods
  • Creamy dressings
  • Creamy soups
  • Whole milk
  • Cheese and yogurts

The good and the bad proteins

I think we all agree protein is a good thing. Protein helps your body build muscle and keeps your hair, skin and nails healthy and happy. About 25% to 35% of your daily calorie intake should be protein-based.

Good protein:

  • Veggie burger, soy burger
  • Soy dogs
  • Vegetable protein (soy, beans, nuts)

Bad protein:

  • Fatty cuts of meat

An important note on protein: Vegetable sources of protein are incomplete and require a companion in order to complete the protein. There are some delicious protein combinations you should make to ensure you’re doing your body right.

Vegetarians, switch it up between nuts, beans, legumes and dairy. And don’t go overboard on the soy—it’s known to increase the incidence of women’s cancers.

Meat eaters, thank you for following along and eating healthy. Keep in mind that one serving of meat is only three ounces—that’s not much. And don’t forget you really do need to get your protein from OTHER places as well, like beans, legumes and nuts. Your body doesn’t want meat every day! (Though you may feel you do.)

Keep up the good work!

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One Response

  1. […] rich in healthy monounsaturated fats (the good fats), which help lower cholesterol and reduce fat (hello, flat belly…?). But don’t eat too […]

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