But I get it, healthy eating can be hard—especially when different nutritional beliefs are thrown around all over the place. Some swear by gluten free foods while Harvard still recommends whole grains and calls certain carbs healthy foods to eat both for weight loss and optimum health. You also hear calorie counting, fat counting and carb counting all with an aim to limit a specific food group or nutrient. Their ever committed and loyal followers eat nothing but low fat or fat free yogurt, low-calorie snacks, and low-carb food alternatives, while popular diets like Paleo is totally cool about butter and whole-fat. Sadly, most diet advice is contradicting, and the nutrition scene is very hard to navigate.
To throw more complications into the mix, food manufactures are getting savvier about their marketing strategies and cleverly masking unhealthy foods as healthy ones.
People with type 2 diabetes are often recommended to follow the diabetic diet and count their carbs, while people with celiac disease or sensitivities to gluten ought to follow a gluten-free diet. But you ask, how about the rest of us without a medical condition, allergy or dietary preference. I always believe eating healthy starts at the grocery store, making wise food choices and buying healthy foods. Proteins are large molecules consisting of 21 amino acids, and 9 of those amino acids are considered essential to your body.
Your body also needs protein for the development and maintenance of your muscles, bones, organs, and energy. The amount of appropriate protein intake can be greatly influenced by lifestyle and physical activity. For example, it's common for athletes and bodybuilders to take in extra protein to bulk up. If you’re a vegetarian, plant sources of protein, such as legumes (beans, dried peas and lentils) and products made from soy (miso tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and soy cheese) can replace meat and dairy products. These nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, A, B12,  and protein. For example, calcium found in milk, yogurt, and cheese is essential for the health of your bones, muscles, nerves and heart.
Making small dietary changes and meeting the recommended 3 servings of dairy per day can significantly aid in building and maintaining a healthy bone mass, leading to improved bone health and prevention of disease such as osteoporosis.
To ensure your daily adequate intake of calcium, start your day with a healthy breakfast consisting of Greek yogurt with some fresh berries, granola and chia seeds on top. For lunch, consider eating a healthy plate salads with lean protein such as chicken, turkey and fish on top (see the protein list for suggestions). Probiotics in the diet can enhance the good bacteria in the gut, leading to a healthier digestive track.
Carbohydrates (carbs) are your body’s main energy source that provides 4 calories per gram. Not only they provide less nutritional values, they also tend to spike your blood sugar after eating.

Molecularly speaking, a complex carbohydrate is a long chain of three or more carbon rings, while a simple carb only consists of one or two carbon rings. Because of their small size and short length, simple carbs digest very quickly and rapidly increase blood sugar.
Simple carbohydrates only take a few minutes to fuel the body and are good for people who need a quick burst of energy. Simple carbohydrates exhibit a sweet flavor, and most sweet-tasting foods contain simple carbohydrates. Fruits such as bananas, berries, tropical fruits like mangoes, pineapple, 100 percent fruit juice, and honey are all high in simple carbohydrates.
Because lactose is also classified as a simple carbohydrate, milk and yogurt are also considered rich sources of simple carbs. For example, fruits that are high in simple carbohydrates contain a significant amount of vitamins and phytochemicals.
During digestion, carbohydrates break down into glucose or sugar which then get used by the body as energy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends carbohydrates should make up about 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be taken from carbohydrates. Fat is in fact even essential to our life, health, and functions of the cells in our bodies. According to Medline Plus, the fats we eat provide our bodies with energy that it needs to work and function properly.
For example, during physical activity, your body uses calories from carbohydrates you have eaten. You can find monounsaturated fats in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, as well as most nuts and avocado oils.
To top it all, they also provide essential nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. To just name an essential one, foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans are in need of. Polyunsaturated fats are fat molecules that have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. And because our bodies do not make essential fatty acids, we must obtain them from our diet, the food sources.
Eating foods that contain saturated fats has been thought to raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. According to American Heart Association, "Saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules.
On contrary, even healthy foods like chicken, fish, and nuts oils contribute some saturated fat to the diet. This is why it would be a mistake to cut back on nuts, oils, and fish to just minimize saturated fat.

Unknowingly, you would cut off healthy nutrients and fats for what seems like a very little amount of saturated fat.
That being said, as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep your intake of saturated fats as low as possible.
Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil also contain primarily saturated fats but do not contain cholesterol. To give you the guideline, limit saturated fat (found in red meat, butter, cheese, and whole-fat dairy products) to less than 6% of your daily calories.
For better calorie and fat consumption control, it's not enough to add foods high in unsaturated fats to a diet filled with unhealthy foods and fats. Next, I would take a look at the foods in your house and the items you put on your grocery lists. Is there anything I am missing here?  What advice would you give to someone wanting to start making some healthy changes in their life?
Natalie Hodson is a mom of two showing how to balance family, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. I use MyFitnessPal and I want to record my daily exercise (Insanity) but the app can’t possibly know how many calories are burned during one of those workouts. Sucrose, the chemical name for sugar, is also a simple carb, thus any food or dessert containing sugar, sugar cane or cane juice is a source of simple carbs.
Pomegranate and pomegranate juice for examples contain simple carbohydrates as well as vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants. These fatty acids are essential because the body needs them for the functioning of the brain and health and growth of cells. Where monounsaturated fatty acids have one double bond and polyunsaturated fatty acids have two double or more double bonds.
If you want to get started making changes with your diet, I would begin by using MyFitnessPal (it's free and you can download the app on your smartphone) and track everything you eat for a few days. For me, if I have junk food or too many unhealthy snack foods in the house I have a really hard time staying on track, so I have to keep pretty much all junk food out of the house.  However, that means hubs and kids need to be on the same page with eating healthier too.
Do you have an idea of the average amount of calories burned during those videos (going full force)? I have used myfitnesspal before but I get confused on something…Do I aim for 1500 calories (weight x 11-12) total no matter what, or do I eat 1500 calories PLUS eat back my workout calories (or part of them)? Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. If they aren't on the same page yet, it's ok too, but I always mention it because it helps me so much when I don't have those temptations in the cupboard. When I had my goal set for 1200, I definitely ate back my workout calories, but if my number is higher, i get confused on what is the right thing to do.

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