nutrition food

Nutrition

How many times have you started eating healthy? How many times did you have to start again? Doctors, Google, and self-proclaimed fitness guru influencers have all praised the benefits of healthy eating. However, with all the information, it’s hard to find out what healthy eating even is! Every day there’s a new diet, a new food trend, and a new so-called “weight loss life hack”. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so… what does it really mean to eat healthy?

The good news is it doesn’t mean stuffing yourself with kale, protein shakes and carrot juice. All those things can be a part of healthy eating, but it doesn’t have to be your lunch every day. Eating healthy means partaking in a diet high in a variety of nutritious foods and drinks. These are foods packed with the nutrients your body needs for optimal performance, like vitamins and minerals. Nutritious eating is also eating enough. What you eat and how much both play a role in eating healthy. It may sound overwhelming to keep all these things in mind, but we’re here to help! Let’s talk about nutrition and some practical ways you can optimize your nutrition! 

First, it’s important to know what it means to be malnourished or not eating healthy/getting all the nutrients you need.

Malnutrition

Perhaps the most commonly known aspect of malnutrition is undernutrition. This is when a person is not getting enough food or nutrients. Undernutrition often means wasting, stunted growth, being underweight, or lacking vitamins and minerals. Being undernourished can result in increased risk of disease or mortality. This form of malnutrition can come from eating too little, not eating enough nutritious foods, or a combination of the two.

Another kind of malnutrition is called micronutrient-related malnutrition. Micronutrients is the umbrella term for substances your body needs to operate properly. Some of these crucial substances are vitamins and minerals. Even if you eat enough food, you could still be malnourished if you aren’t getting enough micronutrients. It’s extremely important to make sure your body is supplied with enough vitamins and minerals because they help in the production of enzymes, hormones, and other substances that aid in proper growth and development.

A lesser talked about aspect of malnutrition is actually overweight and obesity. These conditions happen when someone is too heavy for their height. Often, with abnormal or excessive body fat. Having too much body fat can be detrimental to your health. One way body fat is measured is through BMI or Body Mass Index. Though it doesn’t directly measure body fat, it can help garner an idea of how much fat someone is carrying. Body Mass Index is your weight in kilograms divided by your square height in meters. If you’re not sure how to figure that out, no worries. There are many BMI calculators online in case you’re curious. Here’s a link to the CDC’s BMI calculator.

In adults, being overweight is having a BMI of 25 or more and being obese is a BMI of 30 or more. Being overweight or obese comes from an imbalance in calories consumed and calories burned. Eating more calories than you burn. The longer this imbalance goes on the more likely you are to gain weight. Thankfully, there are many lifestyles changes you can make to keep a healthy weight. Still, there are a few obstacles likely to get in your way.

Obstacles to Nutritious Eating

1.)   Bigger Portions: Excessively large portions of food are hardly a surprise in the U.S. Research shows that in the early 2000s, people were consuming bigger portions practically in all food categories. This is especially true of fast-food restaurant items like hamburgers, fries, sugary beverages, and desserts. It’s important to keep in mind that these foods are often high in fats and sugar, which are high in calories. Plus, they have their own negative side effects. Eating too much fat, especially saturated or trans-fat, and too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among other diseases. Over the last decade, this data has improved somewhat. People are generally eating less, but the quality of those foods still needs work. Most Americans still do not eat enough fruits and veggies, which not only are great for your health, but are also lower in calories and therefore help maintain a healthy weight!

2.)   Thinking Diets instead of Nutrition: There’s always a new diet, weight-loss hack, or “superfood”. Though they may help in losing weight, they don’t guarantee proper nutrition. Some diets may actually have too little calories. Undereating can be just as damaging to your health as overeating. Therefore, certain diets may help you lose weight but not nourish your body and may not even be sustainable. An example of this is low-fat or no-fat diets. Some of these diets encourage eating only low-fat or no-fat products. Two issues here: your body actually needs some fats to function properly. Ideally, 30% or less of your daily calorie needs will come from healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (think olive oil and avocados). Second, low-fat doesn’t mean healthy. In fact, a lot of products that claim to be low fat have just replaced some fats with hydrogenated oils or sugar. Hydrogenated oils are toxic to the body and have even been linked with increased risks of some cancers. Consuming too much sugar can increase your chances of becoming overweight, obese, or developing type 2 diabetes. So, you see – “diet” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

3.)   Time: Ever felt like the clock was your enemy? No matter how hard you try to eat healthy, there just never seems to be enough time! The clock mocks you with the 15 minutes you have for lunch. You barely have time to get the kids packed for school, much less have a well-balanced breakfast for yourself. Sadly, this is a common story. People are spending more time at work than at home, leaving little time to prepare nutritious meals for the day. Meal prepping can help overcome this obstacle! This way, you have all the food you need ready for the week, and all you have to do is pop it in your lunch bag. If you’re not sure how to meal prep, but want to transform your health, check out our Fran’s Kitchen Online Meal Plans! {LINK}

4.)   Price: It can be difficult to eat healthy when the fresh bananas cost so much more than the bag of chips. It’s a perfectly valid concern when it comes to eating healthy. Unhealthy foods can be cheaper than healthy foods. However, a good way to help lower the cost of eating healthy, is to shop for deals and buy in bulk. For example, by your legumes and whole grains in bulk and prepare them at home. Also, make sure to take a list with you every time you go grocery shopping. This way, you’ll make sure to buy what you need and not stray for any unnecessary purchases.

5.)   Convenience of fast food: In a world that seems to go at a million miles an hour, fast food restaurants are just the easiest choice. You can now order food and have it delivered right to your home or office. You can stop at a drive-thru for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. It seems so easy to give in and go for the fast food. However, if you already have your meals prepped for the day, or at least the ingredients handy, it can really help speed up the cooking process. Plus, you can look for specific recipes that are easy to follow, quick, and nutritious! One of our favorites is avocado sweet potato toasts!

With all of these obstacles in your way, eating healthy may seem like a daunting task. So, what can you do to optimize your nutrition?

Tips for Healthy Eating

There are several ways you can help change your eating habits. At the end of the day, it comes down to putting in a little effort, creativity, and patience. All those things will add up over time!

1.)   Get Your List Out! As previously mentioned, shopping with a list can be one of the best things you do for your health and your budget! Write down all of the ingredients you may need to prepare healthful meals and stick to it. I know the cookies section can be oh so tempting, and there’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat. However, the 3 for $5 box of cookies is not going to help your healthy eating journey.

2.)   Watch Your Whole Grains: A super easy way to change your nutrition is to switch out your refined grains for whole grains. This means if you’re a fan of rice, pasta, or cereals, make sure they are whole grains! They pack more nutrition and leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

3.)   5 a Day: Try aiming for five total servings of fruits and veggies every day. This doesn’t mean you have to live off kale and carrots. Try slicing up a banana over oatmeal for breakfast, grabbing an apple instead of a bag of cookies for a snack, and adding a salad to your dinner course. Small changes like these can make all the difference. Plus, since fruits and veggies are naturally lower in calories than processed foods, it will also help you manage a healthy weight!

4.)   Get Your Protein… the Right Way! I love bacon as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best source of protein. I certainly don’t recommend doubling up on helpings. Bacon (or the equivalent for our dear vegan and non-pork eating friends) is precious and should be consumed as a treat not the main source of protein. Instead, try including beans and legumes in your diet as well as whole grains like quinoa and millet. They are rich in protein and fiber, which will keep your tummy full for longer. Plus, they offer more nutrition as well! You can even try making a plant-based protein smoothie with your favorite mix of fruits or veggies! It makes for a great post-workout snack too.

5.)   Drink Enough Water: That probably seems obvious, but the importance of water cannot be stressed enough. Not only is water vital in helping your body do many of its processes, but it can also help you feel satisfied longer, curbing the need to snack. This can be helpful when you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight! Plus, switching out sugary beverages for water will only help your nutrition too, and help you keep a more balanced calorie intake. If you want a little flavor in your water, try slicing up a lemon, orange, or cucumber and putting it in your water bottle!

6.)   Prepare Your Food Wisely: What and how much you eat matters, but how you prepare it can make a big impact too! Instead of opting to grill, fry, or deep fry foods, try broiling, baking, steaming, etc. Frying, grilling, and deep frying often requires a large amount of oil which will add to your fat intake and overall calorie intake. Plus, these cooking techniques can also cause toxic compounds to form in certain foods like meats. If you’re a fan of the crispiness of frying, give an air fryer a go every once in a while!

7.)   Plan, Prep, Repeat: As we mentioned, meal prepping is one of the best ways to make sure you’re staying on track with your health and fully nourishing your body. It takes a few hours in the kitchen, but you save so much time during the week and know you’re being kind to your body. Of course, things come up and eating out is the plan of the day. This doesn’t mean you can’t plan though. Check the menu beforehand so you can find the healthiest option possible while still enjoying that friend’s dinner or date night outing!

8.)   Get Your Chef’s Hat On: Getting creative with healthy recipes is a fun and efficient way to improve your healthy eating habits. Search for healthy recipes you can try out with your family. Who knows, maybe you can even get them to help and try something new!

9.)   Read Your Labels for Sugar and Salt: One of the simplest ways to improve your nutrition is to watch your salt and sugar intake. Try not to consume more than 6g of salt per day, and no more than 10% of your daily calories from sugar. This might mean opting out of the prepackaged dinners and the sugary cereals. Find new spices to use in place of salt and sugar to give your dishes a flavorful boost and still keep your nutrition goals in mind.

10.)              Watch Your Portion Size! There are many resources you can use to get a better idea of what a properly portioned plate looks like. Here’s a couple to get you started: Slide show: Portion control for weight loss and MyPlate | US Department of Agriculture

How FK Can Help YOU!

It can be confusing to start a healthy eating journey. There’s lots of information out there that can leave anyone’s head spinning. If you’d rather just jump right into your new nutritiously optimized lifestyle, you can always join the FK family! Nutrition is sort of our specialty, and we offer two different ways for customers to transform their health.

Our first option is the FK Delivery Meal Plans. This is an option of meal plans, prepped, prepared, and delivered to customers within the Phoenix, AZ area. We offer a variety of delivery meal plans such as:

–   Autoimmune Protocol: for those with autoimmune disorders and body inflammation

–   Keto: for those interested in the keto lifestyle

–   Detox: for gut healing, metabolism boosting, and toxin removing

–   Paleo: a whole-food nutrient rich plan

For those who live outside of our delivery area we have the FK Online Meal Plans! Though these plans are not prepared and delivered, we still make sure to help you get optimized nutrition. The meal plans are sent via email, with in depth instructions on how to prep, cook, and store your meals! Plus, we include an ingredient list and shopping list, so you know exactly what you’ll need every week! You can start eating healthy and enjoying powerful nutrition right from the comfort of your kitchen. For our Online Meal Plans we offer:

–   Keto

–   Vegan

–   And Metabolic

For more information regarding the FK meal plans, head on over to our website. Once there, you can also search for more nutritional information in our blogs! We’re here to serve your nutrition needs and help you live the life you deserve: one of optimal wellness.

Enjoyed this blog post? Follow us on social media and let us know what you liked and what you’d like to see in the future. We love hearing from you!

Cheers,

Fran

NOTE: Fran’s Kitchen offers two different meal plan services. Our Delivery Meal Plans are delivered to customers on an agreed upon schedule. Our ONLINE MEAL PLANS are NOT delivered. These online meal plans are sent to customers via email to be cooked, followed, and enjoyed from the comfort of their own kitchens! Please be mindful of these differences when registering for Fran’s Kitchen services. Thank you!

Tags: #NationalNutritionAwarenessMonth #Nutrition #HealthyEating #MealPrepping  #health  #healthy #food 

Sources

25 Simple Tips to Make Your Diet Healthier

About Adult BMI | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

CDC’s BMI calculator.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy vs. unhealthy diet costs about $1.50 more per day

Evidence from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Fact sheets – Malnutrition

Healthy diet

MyPlate | US Department of Agriculture

Neighborhood Prices of Healthier and Unhealthier Foods and Associations with Diet Quality:

Obesity in America: Large portions, large proportions – Harvard Health

 Slide show: Portion control for weight loss

Why are Americans Obese?

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