5 Healthy Foods You SHOULD Be Eating? Basic Nutritional Guidelines

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green and red healthy foodAre you constantly confused about what you should be eating? The answer is probably “yes” as nutritional and dietary advice always seems to be changing. However, there are some basic nutritional concepts that you should know that will help you plan meals and snacks throughout the day—both for you and your entire family. And, do you have to stop eating a chocolate chip cookie on occasion? No! Learning these basic nutritional concepts helps you understand that it is okay to include special treats as part of your dietary circle of health and enjoy a variety of foods during the week.

What do you need to know about nutrition? Here are the basics:

Food Groups: Foods are grouped together based on similar nutritional properties so it is important to understand what the groups are and what is included in each one. The basic food groups for a healthy diet include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein. “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” Heard that before? Of course you have, and it is excellent advice—your mother really was right.

Water:  Most people don’t drink enough water every day, but everyone should make an effort to do so. Water is essential for the body because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ, and it helps you stay hydrated particularly during prolonged physical activity or in hot weather.

Dietary Fat: Total fat intake should be between 20 and 35 percent of your total calories each day. Some fats are better for you than others and it is important to know the difference between Trans fats, saturated fats, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the body and should be the major food source each day. Learn how the right carbohydrates fuel the system and contribute to overall health.

Protein: Protein intake should be between 10 and 35 percent of your daily calories. Most people eat more protein than they need each day, so it is wise to understand this food group and monitor your daily protein intake.

Want more information on your weight? Use the LifeSpan Calorie Calculator to determine how many calories your body needs in a day to maintain your current weight or make changes if you so desire. Based on the results you can adjust your eating pattern and physical activity levels as needed. Remember, eat healthy, and be active 365 days of the year!

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