What makes up our food? Different nutrient groups all have a different purpose in the body below is the five main nutrient groups and their function. Having a variety of healthy diets is essential to ensure good health.
Essential Nutritional Groups for Healthy Diets
- CARBOHYDRATES – PROVIDE ENERGY
- PROTEIN – FOR GROWTH, REPAIR AND BUILDING MUSCLE IN THE BODY
- FATS – PROTECT INTERNAL ORGANS, REPAIR BODY TISSUE AND KEEP US WARM
- VITAMINS – HELP BODY TO FUNCTION PROPERLY
- MINERALS – HELP BODY TO FUNCTION PROPERLY
- WATER – NEEDS TO KEEP BODY HYDRATED, REGULATES BODY TEMPERATURE
- FIBRE – HELPS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM PROCESS FOOD WE EAT
The 5 Main Food Groups
To nourish your body efficiently your healthy diets should consist of a good variety of groups 1-4 and a low amount of group 5.
- Breads, Cereals and Potatoes
Healthy examples – Weetabix, Special K, Bran flakes, Fruit and Fibre, Shredded Wheat, Porridge Oats, Oatmeal, Alpen bars, Belvita breakfast biscuits, Mctivites porridge oat biscuits, Jacket Potatoes, Wholemeal Bread, Sweet Potatoes, rice cakes
- Fruits and Vegetables – apples, bananas, tomatoes, leeks, carrots, cauliflower etc
- Meat, Fish and alternatives – Chicken, Turkey, Lean beef, Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel, Protein Shakes, Protein Bars, beans, lentils, nuts, eggs, soya
- Milk and dairy products – milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese (For lactose intolerance to get enough calcium try leafy green vegetables such as rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale, soy milk, nut milk, lactose free products.
- Foods containing fats and sugars – chocolate, cake, biscuits, crisps, sweets
KT Fitness Healthy Diets and Tips
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep hydrated
- Start each day with a healthy breakfast to start body’s metabolim
- Eat smaller portions of carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
- Reduce caffeinated drinks such as coffee and teas. Drinks such as latté add empty calories per drink too
- Eat more fruit, salads and vegetables to add nutrients to your diet
- Implement a “no food after 8pm” rule as you are more likely to not burn these calories off
- Build more activity into each day
- Reduce high fat or high sugar meals/snacks –
- A Mars Bar is 250 calories – avoid excessive eating one biscuit is fine – a whole packet is excessive
We all lead busy lives and continuing to eat healthy on the go can be difficult however at KT Fitness we have lots of ideas, tips and advice to keep you on the right track.
Quick easy meals
Smoothies using both fruit and veg. Stick everything in a blender/extraction system and you have all the vitamins and minerals however no preparation time. You could even heat it up and make a soup with it. Example – Spinach, banana, pear, grapes and almonds. For extra protein you can natural pea or soy protein powder.
Omelettes – high in protein then fill with variety of vegetables
Stir frys /fajitas – using lean protein and veg quick meal in minutes
Healthy snack alternatives
- Fruit (in essence in sugar however the source is natural)
- Cereal bars (varying flavours including chocolate)
- Breakfast biscuits (complex carbs that release glucose gradually)
- Protein bars (always check the label for calorie and sugar content first)
- Rice cakes (different flavours and bars eg snack a jacks aldi rice cake bars
- Home made smoothies (variety of fruit, milk, yogurt, protein powder)
- Cottage cheese(fat free/low fat versions)
- Yogurts (however check label for sugar content)
- Tuna chunks
- Chicken pieces
- Wheat crackers/ryvita with low fat cheese
- Mini light babybel/laughing cow cheese
Don’t be misled
Always check the label. Foods that are labelled ‘light’ or ‘low fat ‘might have less fat in them but are often full of sugar instead to improve the taste. This results in the food often having the same amount of calories as the full fat alternative.
Other things to limit in your diet
Alcohol – Alcohol can be misleading too. Did you know that each gram of alcohol contains seven calories?
A small glass of 12% wine (114ml) contains 90 calories
340ml of Becks lager contains 156 calories;
Half a pint of Boddingtons bitter contains 83 calories
A Barcardi Breezer has 200 calories
A Baileys Irish Cream 50 ml has 155 calories
A pint of draught Guinness notches up 170 calories
– inhaling smoke regularly can cause the body to not uptake nutrients as effectively.
Overall the saying everything in moderation is a good guideline to keep to. Variety in our diet ensures we get all the vitamins and minerals our body needs to remain healthy.