Good nutrition is vital to your health at any age. The foods you eat fuel your body and the activities you do, affect your overall health and even affect your mental and emotional state. While most any food you eat will give you calories – the basic building blocks of energy – not all calories are created equal.
Filling versus fuelling your body
This approach to nutrition builds on the concept that not all calories are equal. When you eat, you should be concerned with fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs rather than just eating to stop your hunger.
For example, a meal from a fast-food restaurant may make you feel full, but it won’t give you the same nutrients and benefits as a well-balanced meal prepared at home.
Food is fuel – My thoughts
Food was designed to give our bodies what they need. I start looking at my day, and thinking…..what does my body need? It needs protein, veggies, fruit, even carbs and fats. Instead of thinking, “do I like this?”, I think, “do I need this?”. Instead of thinking, “will this make me fat?”, I need to think, “will this give me energy and strength?”. It isn’t a perfect science, but viewing food as the fuel my body needs, helps me to think less and just eat well!
This refers to the amount of nutrients a food contains per calorie. Nutrient-dense foods provide higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds per gram than less nutrient-dense foods. Your goal should be to have plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your diet. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid foods with a low nutrient density and eat them only in moderation. This includes processed foods, which are foods that have undergone chemical processes to change or preserve them. Foods in this category include:
- Pasta, bread, and crackers
- Cookies, pies, and cakes
- Frozen dinners
Creating a well-balanced nutritional plan
The foods you eat all affect your overall health, mood, and energy level. That’s why it’s so important to have the right food plan for your personal goals and health needs. Working with a registered dietitian nutritionist is the easiest way to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need from your meal plan.
Harshika Patel is an Ahmedabad-based entrepreneur with interests in fitness, real estate development, and organic farming. She owns the Ahmedabad studios of Celebrity Pilates Instructors Samir and Namrata Purohit’s The Pilates Studio at Mumbai. Harshika is one of the co-promoters at Gujarat’s prominent Real estate developer Sun Builders Group. As a passion, she started and operates an organic farm on the outskirts of Ahmedabad called Green Grids growing fresh vegetables, microgreens and fruits.