How your digestive system works!
There are many different types of eating plans available; however, the key to success is finding one that works for you. One key ingredient for a meal plan to work is consistency. Many of us fail to keep consistency in our lives or we stay consistent with bad habits. Two examples that come to mind include skipping meals and breakfast. Failure to break-the-fast every day and skipping meals improves the chance that you will fail to reach your goals. Eating breakfast and consuming small meals (4 to 6 per day) prevents binge eating, night time snacking, and weight gain. It also keeps your metabolic rate at an optimal pace.
The body requires fuel to keep your metabolism burning. Think of metabolism as a campfire. To keep a fire burning strong, it must be fed small doses of wood (ie, fuel). Dropping a large log onto the fire will keep the fire burning, but not as effectively as if it was fed small portions of wood. With the fire still in mind, you have to look at its preferred fuel choice. Adding paper or “empty calories”, the fire will burn through it very quickly. As a result, the fire becomes starved and must be fed very often. Now if you added a mixture of paper and wood, the fire will have enough fuel to burn for a longer period of time. The wood will satisfy the fire’s appetite more than the paper. Wood is to fire as protein is to humans. Your diet should always include a source of protein at each meal and snack.
If you are looking to lose weight; we suggest that you first use a food diary for 3-5 days. This is so that you have an idea of how many calories you are taking in at the present time. Once that is done the formula to lose weight is to take in less calories than you expend or use.
Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are not designed to tell you how much you should eat at each meal, but rather, to give you a pattern which to compare your intake with your goals. Based on the goals set above, try to consume the appropriate amount of food based on the following serving sizes.
Food Groups:
Breads, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Group
One serving = 80 calories = 1 slice bread, 2 slices “extra thin” or “diet” bread, ½ English muffin, ½ frankfurter or hamburger bun, 1 small dinner roll, ½ cup starchy vegetables, ½ cup mashed or 1 small baked potato, ½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, rice, 1 tortilla 6” across, 1 ounce cold cereal, 4-6 crackers, 3 cups air popped popcorn, 2 rice cakes or 5 mini cakes.
One serving = 60-80 calories = 1 medium portion of fresh fruit: orange, apple, banana, 2 Tbs. Raisins, ¼ cup dehydrated fruit; ½ cup cooked or canned fruit, ½ cup fruit juice. Vegetables One serving=25-30 calories= 1 cup leafy green vegetables, ½ cup cooked, ½ cup chopped, ½ cup raw, ¾ cup vegetable juice.
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Choose low-fat whenever possible
One low fat serving = 90 calories =1 cup skim or 1% milk, 1 cup non-fat yogurt, ½ cup low fat yogurt, 1 ounce low fat cheese, ½ cup nonfat or 1% cottage cheese. One regular serving=150 calories=1 cup whole milk or whole milk yogurt, ¾ cup fruit flavored yogurt, 1 ounce of natural cheese, ½ cup cottage cheese.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans and Nuts Group Choose low-fat whenever possible
One low-fat serving = 70 calories =1 ounce of cooked lean meat, fish or poultry, 4 Tbsp hummus, 1/3 cup cooked dry beans, 3 egg whites, 1 ounce low-fat cheese One regular serving=100 calories=1 ounce cooked meat, 1 egg, 4 ounces tofu, 1 ounce of natural cheese, 1 Tbs. peanut butter.
When selecting a low calorie or low fat plan, make sure you are consuming a balanced and complete diet. Your assignment is to set realistic and attainable low calorie diet goals. Start by following the simple guidelines below.
Nutritional and Low Fat Diet Guidelines
  1. Commit to consuming 4 – 6 small meals and snacks every day.
  2. To succeed, you must plan ahead by packing your foods the night before. Thus, you should always have fresh and low-fat foods around.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t get too caught up on the specifics or your diet. Start by simply just counting calories.
  4. Eat your foods slower.
  5. Make healthier food selections like fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and beans, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, low fat meats, fish and skinless poultry.
  6. Avoid foods that are high in fat and calories.
  7. Avoid foods that are high in sugars such as pastries, candy bars, pies and candy.
  8. Use a variety of fruits and vegetables in your nutrition plan. Start by trying to eat 5 total vegetable and fruit servings every single day.
Groceries You Need:
Why it belongs in your cart: The darker green leaves of romaine do more to boost bone health than its iceberg cousin because they offer more vitamin K—about 4 1/2 times more—which is needed to make bone protein. Women with the highest concentrations of vitamin K in their diets (at least 109 mcg per day, the amount in roughly 2 cups of romaine) have the most fracture resistant bones, according to a 1999 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Romaine also provides foliate, a B vitamin you need to prevent a type of anaemia that saps your energy and derails your workout routine. Just 1 cup of romaine supplies 75 mg of foliate, nearly 25% of what women require on a daily basis. Choose the best: Pick brightly colored romaine with no tears or discoloration in the outer leaves. Just before eating, wash romaine with warm running water to gently remove dirt and debris. To save time and minimize waste, choose pre-cut, prewashed lettuce.
Why they belong in your cart: Sweet potatoes are a slow-digesting carb that stabilizes blood-sugar and insulin levels—meaning more endurance, less hunger and less stored body fat. As a result, it’s a great pre-workout carbohydrate that provides potassium by the boatload. Sweet potatoes also contain the most carotenoids of all vegetables. Carotenoids ward off cell damage from everyday metabolism and challenging physical activity. Choose the best: Select medium sized, firm sweet potatoes with no cracks or bruises on the skin. Do not refrigerate; instead, store in a cool, dark, dry place.
Make it a favourite: You can microwave sweet potatoes on high for 4—6 minutes or until soft, or bake them for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. A great treat is to slice peeled sweet potato into wedges, coat lightly with olive oil, then roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F until tender, about 15—20 minutes. Eat a warm whole sweet potato as is or top with fat-free sour cream or yogurt. Other serving options: Mash a cooked sweet potato with 2 tablespoons of orange juice rather than butter and brown sugar. Slice cold, cooked, peeled potatoes for snacks and side dishes, or add to a turkey wrap.
Why they belong in your cart: Any berry is good for you, so take your pick from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, to name a few. Berries contain a bevy of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants and vitamins that ward off cell damage and foster cell repair. Berries are also natural pain-relievers. The anthocyanins (beneficial plant compounds) in blueberries, raspberries and strawberries ease post work out muscle aches. Since berries are bursting with water, they’re relatively low in calories for the good nutrition they provide. Choose the best: When possible, purchase locally grown berries and use within a day or two to prevent spoilage. Choose berries that are firm, bright and uniform in color. Turn over clear packages to check for juice “weeping” or damage at the bottom of the container. Refrigerate fresh berries immediately and wash them only when you’re ready to eat.
Why it belongs in your cart: Ounce for ounce, kiwifruit are higher in vitamin C than any other fruit, with the exception of guava. If you’ve never tried this small fuzzy fruit, it’s time to be adventurous. Getting enough vitamin C is critical for burning fat during exercise, according to a report in Nutrition & Metabolism. Vitamin C is involved in the production of carnitine, a compound crucial to fat oxidation. In the study, those people with marginal levels of vitamin C used significantly less fat for energy than those with an adequate amount in their blood. Thus, inadequate vitamin C in the diet may work against weight control, even in people who work out regularly. In addition, two medium kiwis—about 100 calories worth—provide more potassium than a medium banana. Choose the best: Avoid fruit with bruises or wet spots. Plump kiwi that yield to gentle pressure provide the sweetest flavour. Ripen firmer kiwis in a paper bag for 2—3 days on the countertop, then refrigerate.
Make it a staple: Cut kiwi in half as you would a grapefruit and scoop out the fruit with a small spoon. Or peel with a paring knife, then slice or cut into chunks for salads. Combine kiwi with pineapple and mandarin oranges for a tropical fruit salad.
Why it belongs in your cart: The bird is particularly rich in the amino acid leucine. Preliminary evidence reported in the August 2006 European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that leucine supplements enhance athletic performance by helping to facilitate efficient protein synthesis in athletes. Chicken is also a low-fat source of high-quality protein that boasts a number of vitamins and minerals which contribute to peak energy levels. Choose the best: Fresh chicken should be in clean packages that are sealed tight and cold, while frozen chicken should be rock-solid to the touch. Look for products with no more than 7 grams of fat in a 3- ounce serving.
Make-ahead meals: Roast a small whole chicken when you have a few hours at home, then feast on it for several days: once when it comes out of the oven, then as part of soft tortilla wraps made with reduced fat cheese and chopped vegetables, and again as chicken salad made with chopped grapes or minced celery and fat-free plain yogurt.
Why it belongs in your cart: With its juicy, flavourful texture, you’d think pork tenderloin was full of fat. On the contrary, it contains about the same amount of fat as a boneless, skinless chicken breast, according to recently released numbers by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It’s also a stellar source of niacin, one of the eight B vitamins that help break down the carbohydrates, fats and protein in food and convert it to energy your body can use. Niacin is also involved in maintaining the health of your nervous system. Choose the best: There’s very little waste when it comes to pork tenderloin, so choose a package according to the number of people eating. Figure about 4—6 ounces per person. Sealed packages of tenderloin may be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days before cooking. Keep it longer by storing in the freezer for up to six months—just make sure each piece of meat is well wrapped in specially coated freezer paper (place the waxed side against the meat) or heavy-duty aluminum foil, polyethylene film or a zip-top plastic freezer bag.
Make it a staple: Slice tenderloin crosswise into medallions, sauté in a bit of olive oil and serve over a whole grain such as brown rice. Pork tenderloin is at its best when prepared with an added spice rub or a flavour-packed sauce, or when it’s marinated in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cooking.
Why it belongs in your cart: Don’t reach for just any type of ground beef—there’s a big difference in nutritional value. A serving of 95%- lean ground beef (about 3 ounces) serves up an additional 6 grams of protein (21 grams total) and saves 150 calories and 9 grams of fat over its fattier counterpart, 75%-lean ground beef. Like other meats (and eggs), beef boasts high-quality protein, which means it provides all the amino acids you need to maintain and build muscle. A 2005 Journal of Nutrition study found that diets rich in high-quality protein make weight control easier for active women by helping them retain muscle while shedding fat.
Choose the best: Shop for meat last to keep it cool longer, and take it home immediately to store in the refrigerator or freezer. Choose ground-beef packages that are cold and tightly wrapped. Unlike other cuts of fresh beef, the surface of ground beef is generally reddish brown because it’s exposed to air during processing. As with any meat, defrost frozen ground beef only in the refrigerator—do not leave it out on the counter. When you use the microwave for defrosting, cook beef immediately.
Why it belongs in your cart: yogurt contains protein, but its stellar calcium content is why it’s worth eating. Calcium may help women stay slim as long as they continue to exercise and eat a balanced diet. The most convincing explanation for how calcium might exert its slimming effects is that a low calcium intake is known to increase the concentration of calcium within cells, thus signalling to the body that it needs more fat. This, in turn, inhibits fat breakdown. In addition to protein and calcium, yogurt supplies live active cultures to enhance digestive health and immunity. Choose the best: Go for plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Choose a brand with live active cultures that provides no more than 120 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup and supplies 40% of the daily value for calcium (400 mg) and 2 grams of fibre.
Make it your go-to condiment: Serve yogurt over fruit salad, use it as the base for vegetable and fruit dips, prepare smoothies with it, stir into whole-grain cereal, or top a baked potato with yogurt and herbs.
Why it belongs in your cart: Like yogurt, milk provides high-quality protein and calcium, but it trumps yogurt in the vitamin D department. While the body is able to make vitamin D in response to strong sunlight, many American women come up short, especially those who live in northern regions. Getting enough vitamin D was also linked to better lung function in a study of adult Americans, and it’s important for muscle growth and strength.
Make it a staple: Aim for three 8- ounce servings of milk each day. Enjoy it with whole-grain cereal, as flavoured milk or in smoothies. Sneak in a serving by making instant oatmeal in the microwave using milk instead of water and by preparing canned condensed soup with milk.
Why it belongs in your cart: cottage cheese is a top-notch source of protein that contains less calcium than yogurt but more protein. Just a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein—about the amount in 2 ounces of cooked poultry, meat or seafood—for only around 100 calories. And cottage cheese is always ready to eat, so it’s a great way to increase protein intake. A report in a 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that getting 30% of your daily calories from protein (about 160 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet) helps you eat less overall. When study subjects doubled their protein without changing their calories and were allowed to eat whatever else they wanted, they took in fewer calories than when they were on a lower-protein regimen. Choose the best: Sodium is cottage cheese’s one drawback, so select a low-sodium brand that contains about 50 mg of sodium per serving, a real bargain compared to the 450 mg or so you find in regular low-fat varieties. Your new favorite meal: Scoop out the inside of a baked potato and mix it with 1 cup of cottage cheese. Return the mixture to the potato skin, top with low-fat shredded cheddar cheese and microwave until the cheese melts.
Why it belongs in your cart: If you’re drinking juice, you might as well make the most of it. Orange juice with added calcium and vitamin D is the way to go; the major brands supply as much calcium and vitamin D as a glass of milk (minus the protein and other vitamins and minerals). And a glass of any orange juice gets you about half of the vitamin C you need every day. In a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers followed 20,000 subjects who kept diet diaries. Those who consumed the fewest fruits, vegetables and vitamin C were three times more likely to develop inflamed joints than test subjects who consumed the highest amounts. Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, the connective tissue that holds together bones and joints. Choose the best: Select orange juice that’s fortified with vitamin D3 and a combination of calcium hydroxide, malic acid and citric acid, which are highly absorbable forms.
Why they belong in your cart: Egg protein is considered the gold standard because it provides all of the amino acids your body needs. In fact, all other sources of protein, including meat, seafood and dairy foods are judged against egg protein quality. And eggs are filling, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Women who ate an egg breakfast consumed an average of 164 fewer calories at lunch compared to a group of women who ate a bagel breakfast, even though both meals supplied the same number of calories. Even better, the egg eaters reportedly took in 400 fewer calories for the 36 hours after their egg meals. As if they weren’t good enough on their own, eggs now contain added nutrients, most notably docosahexanoic acid, or DHA—an omega-3 polyunsaturated fat that has been linked to reduced inflammation in the body. Choose the best: Select a brand with at least 150 mg of DHA per egg. Only buy those that have been refrigerated.
Make it a staple: Hard-boiled eggs make quick, protein-rich snacks.
Why it belongs in your cart: Every woman, active or not, needs at least three servings of whole-grain foods each day to foster good health. And when it comes to grains, the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Research suggests that the individual nutrients and plant compounds found in whole grains act together to deliver beneficial effects. When you’re watching your waistline, the fiber in whole-grain bread comes in handy. According to Barbara Rolls, PhD, researcher and author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, getting enough fiber is key when you’re trying to keep calories low because fiber adds bulk to foods without increasing calories. As a result, you feel fuller while consuming less. Aim to get about 25 grams of fiber every day. Choose the best: Most bread is made from wheat, so be sure the label specifies that it contains whole wheat or whole grains. Whole grains can come from any type of grain, including wheat, oats, corn, rice and barley. Surprisingly, foods labeled with the words multigrain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain and bran usually aren’t whole grain. Check the ingredients list—whole-wheat or wholegrain flour should come first, and most whole-grain breads offer at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Why it belongs in your cart: Do you eat salads in the name of good health, feeling virtuous because you top them with fat-free dressing? You may be missing out on fat, but you’re also coming up short on carotenoids. When researchers fed test subjects salads that included romaine lettuce with fat-free, low-fat or full-fat dressings, they discovered that the fattier the salad dressing, the greater the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Olive oil provides the perfect base for salad dressings for active women because it’s rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Olive oil also supplies oleocanthal, a natural substance that acts like over the- counter pain-relievers to ease muscle pain from tough workouts. Choose the best: Purchase extra virgin olive oil in glass containers, preferably tinted glass to preserve nutrients. At home, store oil in a cool, dark place. A cabinet located away from the stove and direct sunlight works well. You may leave it in its original glass container, but always replace the cap on the bottle and keep it tightly sealed.
Make it your go-to condiment: Cook with olive oil instead of butter. Mix with balsamic vinegar and fresh or dried herbs for salad dressing, and drizzle onto steamed broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower
6 Smart Snacks for After Your Workout:
Protein Shake with Banana
After a workout, you want ample protein combined with a carbohydrate. A protein shake made from whey protein, water, and half a banana is a great choice, since your body quickly turns it into energy.
Recommended Serving Size: 2 scoops of whey protein powder combined with water and 1/2 banana, 250 calories
Peanut Butter & Banana on Rice Cakes
If you’re craving something more substantial after a workout, a healthy peanut butter and banana sandwich will fit the bill. Instead of bread, smooth your peanut butter onto two brown rice cakes for extra fiber (without empty carbs). And while you may usually avoid bananas because they’re too full of sugar, eating one after a workout is just fine. This is one of the only times a high-glycemic carbohydrate source such as banana is good, because the uptake will be rapid, It’ll replenish your energy quickly.
Recommended Serving Size: 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, and 2 brown rice cakes, 215 calories
Hummus and Pita
Another great carb/protein combo: Hummus and whole wheat pita. Hummus, a dip made from pureed chickpeas, gives you both carbs and protein. Coupled with the slow-release energy from the whole wheat pita, it makes for a snack that’ll keep you fueled for hours.
Recommended Serving Size: 1/4 cup hummus with 1 whole wheat pita, 275 calories
Yogurt and Fresh Berriesa
Protein makes sense after a workout, since it contains amino acids that help build muscle. Your muscles are depleted of amino acids after a workout, so you need an adequate supply of protein to help build them up . Low-fat yogurt can pack nearly 15 grams of protein; add some berries for carbohydrate-driven energy.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 8-ounce container of plain, low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup berries, 180 calories
Tuna on Whole Wheat
What could be more filling after a workout than half a sandwich? And when you choose its filling wisely, you’ll be building muscle while you eat, too! Research shows that carbs and protein together have a better response to post-workout recovery. Tuna drizzled with a little lemon juice and olive oil spread over a slice of whole wheat bread is an ideal protein/carb mini-meal.
Recommended Serving Size: 4 ounces water-packed tuna and 1 slice whole wheat bread, 220 calories
Turkey and Cheese with Apple Slices
If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, skip the bread and eat the fillings on their own! Spread a soft-cheese wedge over two or three slices of lean deli turkey, then roll up for a quick, high-protein, eat-on-the-go snack. Add a sliced apple for some energy-boosting (and glycogen-replenishing) carbs.
Recommended Serving Size: 4 ounces deli turkey, 1 soft cheese wedge, and 1 apple, 240 calories
7 Stress-Busting Snacks
A Fresh Banana
These fruit favorites are the perfect choice when you’re feeling stressed. That’s because they contain potassium and vitamin B6, both stress-fighting substances. What’s more, bananas are easy on a stressed-out system, filling, and sweet, because our bodies naturally crave sugar when we’re under stress, that sweet taste is a healthy bonus!
Recommended serving size: 1 medium banana – Calories: 105
Baked Tortilla Chips and Salsa
When you’re stressed, you want to feel soothed, and nothing soothes a system like carbohydrates. Baked tortilla chips combat stress because they’re a great source of low-fat carbs. What’s more, your body needs more vitamin C when it’s stressed, so adding a half-cup of vitamin-C-packed salsa makes perfect sense.
Recommended serving size: 1 ounce of baked chips and a half-cup of salsa
Calories: about 135
Breakfast Cereal Bar
These packaged bars were made for breakfast, but they’re a great snack when you’re feeling overwhelmed, too! Made with fruity fillings and whole grains, cereal bars give you the carbohydrate-loaded sweet sensations you crave when stressed. But because they’re fortified with vitamins and minerals, they’re a nutrition boost, too, providing extra calcium and iron — which your body needs when it’s stressed.
Recommended serving size: 1 bar
Calories: about 140
Black Bean Soup
Stress does a number on the minerals in your body, depleting things like magnesium, iron, and zinc, says Tanner. Black bean soup is an excellent source of all of these important minerals. Even better, a warm bowl of soup takes a while to eat, so enjoying it forces you to sit down, breathe, and become calm.
Recommended serving size: 1 cup of canned, fat-free soup
Calories: 110
Decaf Nonfat Latte
A latte has the package of nutrients your body needs for energy and to combat stress, referring to the calcium and protein in the milk. Choose a decaf version, since caffeine can make you feel anxious and interfere with sleep, which is crucial to get when you’re under stress. And go fat free, as some studies have shown that a high-fat diet suppresses the immune system (something that stress already does to your body).
Recommended serving size: 1 16-ounce decaf nonfat latte
Calories: 160
Baby Carrots with Nonfat Sour Cream Dip
Ever notice how you want something crunchy to eat when you’re feeling tense? The crunch we usually get from unhealthy snacks like potato chips is cathartic and it relieves tension. To get the same crunch in a healthy way, try baby carrots. They’re packed with beta-carotene, too, which becomes depleted in your body when you’re stressed. You can add some nonfat sour cream dip for extra tension-taming calcium.
Recommended serving size: 1 cup baby carrots with 2 tbsp. nonfat sour cream dip
Calories: about 75
Raisin Bread with Fat-Free Cream Cheese
This snack has got it all: Carbs, in the form of grains and dried fruit, to calm your mood; calcium to build your stress-depleted stores; and a sweet, satisfying taste to make your taste buds happy. What more could you ask for?
Recommended serving size: 1 slice of raisin bread with 1 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese
Calories: 95