Can You Eat Like a Nutritionist?
Identify the Enemy
Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds are all complex carbohydrates. These aren’t necessarily enemies to good health because they also provide nutrients and fiber to slow the conversion and absorption of glucose. Empty carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, bread, chips, crackers, cookies, candy, cake and sugary beverages are the enemies.
An average person consumes the equivalent of 52 spoonfuls (208 grams or about 1/2 pound) of sugar per day! This glucose overload from sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or converted carbohydrates raises insulin and, unless you’re a marathoner, is stored as muffin-top fat, which can lead to many health problems.
You may not be a nutritionist, but for the sake of your digestive system and general health, it helps to eat like one. In agricultural societies, meals can go from field to table on the very same day. Capitalistic processing and marketing of food has led to competition for consumers tastebuds. Food selection is often based on appearance (artificial coloring) and taste (artificial flavoring)—not nutrition.
A Trip Behind Enemy Lines
So you’re hungry in the middle of the day. A spicy bag of chips with bright yellow and red colors on top of the refrigerator sure looks good. A television commercial advertises piping hot french fries. That’s worth a quick trip across the street. While making a selection from the visual menu board, it seems more cost-effective to get a meal deal, which includes a burger and soda. Later in the evening, a tamale with Spanish rice sounds good for dinner.
These are all vision-based meal selections. If you think like a nutritionist, you realize you primarily consumed carbohydrates and sugar that quickly convert to glucose. A limited amount of carbohydrates are required throughout the day for energy. But excess is stored as fat. So that bag of chips and meal deal leave you at a deficit for protein. Sure there is some protein in the beef patty, but it can’t compensate for the bun, soda, fries, masa, and rice.
What’s the number-one reason why we snack on chips, soda and cookies? Because they are there—easily accessible. If you can't stop filling your cart with addictions, perhaps the first item on your shopping list should be someone else’s name to shop for you.
With easily accessible healthy snacks, we will reach for them to satisfy those gnawing cravings. So step one is buy less junk. Spend twenty minutes chopping several days worth of carrots and celery into bite-size pieces. Place these veggies in an air-tight container with fresh water and store in the refrigerator. Because carrots are root vegetables, they absorb moisture. This enhances the texture and flavor so you can snack on them raw (without calorie-rich dressing or hot wings). Having a large batch of precut veggies also makes it easy to add them to salads, stir fry
or pasta. (Whoops.)
In the sortable table below, notice how sugars and carbohydrates in a cup of celery compare to those of a few cookies or a candy bar. Remember, carbs quickly convert to sugar so they should be on your watch list. Note too that it only takes about 25 pretzels to reach the adult recommendation of 1500 mg of sodium per day.
|Food ||Serving Size||Sodium||Calories||Sugars||Carbs|
|Cheez It Original Snack Crackers||27 crackers (30g)||250mg||160||1g||18g|
|Lay's Barbecue Potato Chips||35.4g||190mg||190||2g||19g|
|Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies||3 cookies||110mg||160||11g||21g|
|Rolled Gold Classic Pretzels||9 pretzels (27.6g)||560mg||110||--||23g|
|Snickers Bar||2 oz||140mg||271||26.2g||34.5g|
According to MayoClinic, based on a 2000-calorie-per-day-diet, 225 to 235 grams of good carbohydrates are recommended. If endeavoring to lose weight, less might be consumed. Snack food flavor selection can dramatically affect sodium, calories and carbohydrates. People often combine snack foods and exceed suggested serving size.
Eating like a nutritionist requires having a basic idea of how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should be consuming on a daily basis. It is helpful to stay within prescribed guidelines for sodium and sugar. So when hunger pangs arrest your attention, curb them with something that digests more slowly like carrot or celery sticks. Then drink a glass water while you rationally consider more substantial healthy options.
It all starts with shopping habits. If all your snacks are carbs—chips, crackers, bread, cookies, Ramen noodles—then even when you try to make wise choices during the day, you are nutritionally handicapped. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables to feel A Bit More Healthy.