The phrase “Eat meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar,” embodies a balanced diet without tying down to specific foods. This phrase can guide someone early on in their nutrition journey to make the steps toward overall eating better. It can be memorized and remembered in the kitchen and the grocery store. When thinking nutritious food, think “meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” These thoughts can be powerful in helping us make healthful decisions about our food.
Let’s break this phrase down:
- Meat is a primary source of all essential amino acids. These are the proteins our body needs to function, and we cannot make them on our own. Consuming these amino acids is possible with a meatless diet, but as far as efficiency goes, meat works faster and better. Veggies have amino acids, but not all in the same place. Some work needs to be done to balance these veggies out to get all the required proteins in your diet.
- Veggies are on the good side of the glycemic index as a carbohydrate which means hormone levels are more stable and sustainable when we eat vegetables. When vegetables are used as the primary carbohydrate in a diet, there is no need to worry about “carb counting.” You will quickly become full before you reach your daily allotment, especially if you are physically active.
- Nuts and seeds are a powerful source of fat. Fat is full of energy and can quickly balance out a diet or meal full of protein and carbs.
- “Some” fruit, but how much? Let’s keep it simple and say, “less fruits than vegetables.” Fruits have plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and some minerals, but if the plate has the appropriate veggies on it, then some fruit is good for a sweeter variety of carbohydrates.
- Little starch is on the other side of glycemic index. Like with fruit, a quick way to think about amount to have it should be the smallest portion of carbohydrates you consume.
- No sugar is tough (especially because carbs are all technically sugar). What this really means is no added sugar. Limit the amount of extra sugar added to drinks and common junk foods because there is already plenty in your fruits, veggies, and starches.
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