Creating a Healthy Eating Plan
I am sure that you have your own reasons for deciding to develop a healthy eating plan. Let me be the first to commend you. You have made a wise decision. Eating healthy is great and the benefits last a lifetime! On this page we try to give you sound healthy eating diet advice.
I want you to think of your healthy eating plan like a blueprint. A blueprint is a rough design of the structure of a building. An architect will use a blueprint to plan out your building's walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Use the knowledge you acquire here at Healthy-Eating-Habit.com to build a detailed plan or program of action for a balanced and nutritious lifestyle.
Ok… lets get started!
Here are the major nutrients that make up the foods we eat:
Lets go over each one:
Carbohydrates are a type of food that supplies energy for our body. There are two types of carbohydrates:
1. Simple carbohydrates: These are easily digested by our body and are found in processed or refined sugars.
2. Complex carbohydrates: These take longer for our body to absorb. They are found in foods such as breads, rice, legumes, and pasta. Starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, winter squash, & potatoes also contain complex carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates should be part of your healthy eating plan, however most of your carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates because they provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important to our health. On the other hand the simple carbohydrates found in processed or refined sugars have little or no nutritional value.
As you create your healthy eating plan, I want you to also keep in mind that even though our body converts carbohdrates into glucose ( blood sugar ) and are used as energy, if we consume too much carbohydrates the body converts the excess amount into fat. Too much fat in the body can lead to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Protein is our body’s building block. It is used to build bones, repair tissue, strengthen our immune system and build muscle.
We get our dietary protein from meat, dairy, nuts, and certain beans and grains.
Most Americans get more than enough protein in their diet. You might be saying to yourself, “how much protein do I need? Well… in order to calculate how much protein you need this what you do:
1. Find out how much calories your body needs each day to maintain your desired weight, by using our
(link will open in new window).
2. After you've figured out your maintenance calories, next figure out what percentage of your diet will come from protein. The percent you choose will be based on your goals, fitness level, age, body type and metabolic rate. Most nutritionist recommend that your protein intake be somewhere between 15 and 20%. When you've determined your desired percentage of protein, multiply that percentage by the total number of calories for the day.
For a 164-pound male, calorie intake=2551calories, protein=20%: 2551x.20=510 calories from protein. 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories, so divide protein calories by four: 510/4=128 grams of protein per day.
A lot of people only associate fat with weight gain. However our body does need fat and thus should be included as part of your healthy eating plan. Experts say that our diet should consist of 25-30% calories from fat.
*Fat is needed for energy
*Fat is needed so your body can absorb certain vitamins (like A, S, E, K,)
*Fat helps food to stay in our stomach longer, thus giving us a greater sense of satisfaction
*Fat acts as a cushion for our internal organs
*Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, and oils.
Types of Fat:
The five different types of fat are: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, trans-fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Saturated fats are fats that stay solid at room temperature. Some of the foods that contain saturated fat are: meat, poultry, whole milk, cream, butter and cheese.
Eating too many foods high in saturated fat is not good because it can cause high cholesterol which can lead to heart disease.
Unsaturated fats (found in foods like olive oil, and canola oil) are liquid at room temperature. It is a good idea to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in your diet because this fat may aid in lowering the bad cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease. Remember... when creating a healthy eating plan you need to be wise in your food selections and not simply leave it up to your sense of sight, taste or smell.
are oils (liquid or soft at room temperature) from plants such as corn, sunflower, soybean, safflower and cottonseed oils.
are processed by taking liquid oils and transforming them into solid form (hydrogenation). Examples of foods that contain trans-fatty acids include margarine and vegetable shortening. These fats are a lot like saturated fats because they raise your cholesterol.
Omega-3 fatty acids
are a family of polyunsaturated fats. Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may help lower triglycerids and increase good cholesterol. A good source of Omega-3 fatty acids is fish, walnuts and flax seed.
I get most of my Omega-3 from flax seed. It has been part of my healthy eating plan since 1996.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are a must for your healthy eating plan. They cause our body to work properly. They aid our immune system and support our body’s growth and development. We get our vitamins and minerals from our daily diet.
There are two groups of vitamins: fat soluble and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. They are called fat-soluble vitamins because they dissolve in fat. The water-soluble vitamins are C, and the B-complex vitamins. These vitamins are called water-soluble vitamins because they must dissolve in water before our body can use them.
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in our body. Any water-soluble vitamin that our body does not use is quickly excreted from our system mostly when we urinate. That is why these vitamins must be replenished daily.
Last but not least, your healthy eating plan should include water. Did you know that 55-75% of our body is made up of water?
A person can only live three to seven days without water. It’s no wonder why water is said to be the most essential nutrient for our body.
How much water should you drink each day? Well…I guess that depends on your health, how active you are and where you live.
I grew-up hearing that a person should drink 8 glasses of water per day. However, today some nutritionist dispute that amount. So my advice is that everyone should strive to know more about their body’s need for fluids, which will intern help them get an estimate of how much their daily consumption of water should be.
Now that you know the major nutrients that make up the foods we eat, start applying this knowledge or concept to your healthy eating plan.
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