At times, nutrition can seem confusing, and with an abundance of information available, it can often be, overwhelming. Here at Move More, Eat Well, we aim to provide you with the tools to understand that nutrition can actually be simple. It is about building a healthy and personal relationship with food. I will also include a few tips on how you can ensure a healthy and balanced nutrient intake, to suit your personal nutrition and health goals.
The Importance of Nutrition
So what is nutrition? It is the essential process of consuming, absorbing, and using nutrients by the body for growth, development, and maintenance of life. In its simplest form, food is first consumed, it is then broken down by the body into nutrients, and finally, it is used by the body for fuel and many additional purposes.
To get started, this is the very basics of what you need to have a balanced diet.
WATER: Our bodies are comprised of a large percentage of water, it is necessary for metabolic processes and the removal of toxins.
The key nutrient groups:
· Carbohydrates: Often the main source of energy.
· Proteins: Proteins are involved in many of the body’s metabolic processes to support growth, repair, and essential functions of the body.
· Fats: Energy –dense nutrients
· Vitamins & Minerals: Essential nutrients required in smaller amounts to support the physiological functions of the body. (They help the body work properly!) The essential vitamins & minerals are provided by having a well-balanced diet.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet, while considering our personal requirements and preferences can often seem like a challenge, however, a balanced diet is easier to achieve, being that it is not restrictive, but, inclusive. I have gathered up some key tips to help you achieve that balance:
TIP 1: Keep a list of key foods that you enjoy from each nutrient group: when you prepare a meal refer back to the list and pick one from each category. For example,
CARBOHYDRATES: Oats, fruits, brown rice, wholegrain bread.
PROTEIN: Eggs, meat, soya, legumes.
FATS: Avocados, oily fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
TIP 2: Remember, diets should also be adjusted to your lifestyle, for example, if you work full-time, you may need to plan your meals ahead and choose meals which are quicker to prepare.
TIP 3: Keep it colourful. If your meals tend to look a little ‘beige’, throw in some fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals.
TIP 4: Don’t rely on supplements. While some may need supplements to support nutrient deficiencies, these should be taken with precaution and medical guidance. Focus more on consuming whole foods to support your nutrient intake.
TIP 5: Gradually make smaller adjustments and changes to your diet, as a balanced diet is a lifestyle, and not a short-term fix. A small step you can start with is to include a portion of vegetables with one meal, every day.
BALANCED MEAL IDEAS
Here is an example of a healthy and balanced day of eating, with healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates at each meal, including fruits and vegetables.
BREAKFAST: Avocado and pumpkin seeds on toast, with eggs, and a piece of fruit.
LUNCH: Quinoa, with grilled chicken, and a salad with an olive oil dressing.
DINNER: Brown rice, salmon, and roast vegetables.
DRINK: 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day.
(If you would like more balanced and healthy meal ideas, leave us a comment ..)