Nutrition 101

Keeping yourself motivated throughout the weight loss process is often times challenging.
Always remember why you want to lose weight, write it down, post it where you will see it,
read it when you want to quit. Never give up on something you think about every single day!

Nutritional Guidelines from USAF LivingFit

Knowing what to eat and how much to eat can get pretty complicated, especially when
you are trying to lose weight and feed a family.  Here are some nutrition basics to help
you get started.

Increase your water intake

We’ve been told for ages that it’s healthy to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But why? Here’s what water can do for you: It provides the hydration your body needs, keeps you feeling full, assists in maintaining a balance of body fluids, improves the look of your skin and it energizes your muscles to help you burn calories when you exercise. If plain water isn’t exciting enough for you, jazz it up with sliced lemon, lime, or cucumber, or add a sprig of mint. 

Balancing the vegetarian diet for good nutrition

Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients, but the key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, gender and activity level to get the serving size and variety of food needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Stop when you’re had enough

Eat nutrition-rich foods first, such as salads, fruits and vegetables. They will help you feel full and should fill about half of your plate at each meal. One quarter of your plate should contain protein such as lean meat, poultry or fish, and the fourth portion of your plate should have whole grains. Include dairy products such as skim milk, yogurt or cheese. Stop eating before you feel full. Do not eat too fast. It requires about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your body is getting food. You stop feeling hungry when your brain gets this message. 

How to avoid added sugar

As you probably know, food that contains added sugars has fewer nutrients than foods with sugars that occur naturally. If you see ingredients such as corn sweetener, corn syrup, sucrose, lactose, fructose, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, honey, molasses, brown sugar, sugar, raw sugar, glucose, maltose or high fructose corn syrup on an ingredients list, you know the food has added sugars. The closer an item is to the top of the list, the more of that sugar is in the food.

The CDC offers these tips for avoiding added sugars—
  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened sodas.
  • Choose 4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice rather than a fruit drink.
  • Have a piece of fruit for dessert and skip desserts with added sugar.
  • Choose breakfast cereals that contain no or less added sugars.

Facts about Fiber

Americans seem to struggle to meet their daily recommended guidelines for dietary fiber intake. Products made with refined flour, including various types of bread, rolls, buns and pizza crust, make up a large portion of our diets but are not ideal sources of dietary fiber. To meet the recommendations for fiber, eat more beans, peas, fruits, whole grains, and other foods with naturally occurring fiber. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the U. S. Dept. for Health and Human Services and the USDA, it's recommended that you get 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume each day.

Enhance Flavors to Encourage Healthy Eating

Make your meals more flavorful with these taste-brightening ideas. Add small amounts of ingredients with bold flavors like pomegranate seeds, chipotle pepper or cilantro. Add tang with citrus juice or grated lemon, lime or orange peel. Acidic ingredients help lift and balance flavor. Enhance sauces, soups and salads with a splash of flavored balsamic or rice vinegar. Give a flavor burst with good-quality condiments such as horseradish, flavored mustard, chutney, wasabi, bean purees, tapenade and salsas of all kinds.

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To lose 1 pound of body fat per week, you need to burn 3500 calories.

If we break it down, you will need to CUT OUT or BURN an extra
500 calories per day.

Identify foods/food combos AND activities that equal 500 calories.
Multipy these times 7 for the week and you’ve lost one pound!
For example:

Here are some high calorie foods to be aware of and/or cut out to get your 500 calorie deficit for the day

Peanut butter
Candy Bar    
Large French Fries    
French Dressing    
Pizza Hut Breadstick    
Slice Pepperoni Pizza    
Soft Drink    
Grande Mocha Frappucino    
Blueberry Muffin    
Hot Dog    
Orange Juice

94 cals/Tbsp
130 cals/oz
260 cals
573 cals
500 cals/4oz
88 cals/ Tbsp
180 cals
340 cals
90 cals/1 can
227 cals
610 cals
80 cals
224 cals/16 oz

Activity examples equivalent to burning 500 calories in one hour

Boot Camp
Circuit Training
Crossfit Workout
Dance Revolution
Elliptical Trainer
Family Hike
Flag Football
Ice Skating
Jumping Jacks

Jumping Rope
Line Dancing
Pogo Sticks
Pull ups / Push ups
Shovel Snow
Spinning Class
Stair Step Machine
Step Aerobics
Swimming Laps
Zumba Class

If you missed some of our
Nutrition 101 Basics tips
visit the archives.

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