You can smell the deliciousness of a home-baked meal wafting from the kitchen. You have salivated all day just thinking about this meal, which is only made for special occasions. Your friends and family knew that you loved this meal, so they made sure to invite you to come and enjoy it.
The beautiful dish is placed on the table in front of you. It contains—
Broccoli and quinoa??
This month is National Nutrition Month. When I asked my friends what 3 foods they think of when it comes to nutrition, they said, “avocado, kale, apples, carrots, celery, quinoa, broccoli, lemon, and meat”.
These foods are definitely nutritious and many of them are superfoods. Superfoods are powerhouses of the good stuff that your body needs, but rarely gets.
I applaud the women who can eat only nutritious superfoods every day. But, what about the rest of us? Those women who are trying hard to eat healthier, but don’t know how to put together an incredible meal using only the most nutritious items they can find. Or, don’t have the skills or knowledge to prepare a healthier version of their favorite foods.
I am all about experimentation when it comes to changing your eating habits. After all, I once refused to eat anything green, and today I share fun ways to dress up those previously spurned vegetables with my clients.
The problem is not wanting to eat healthier foods, the problem is how you view eating healthier. If you see food only as fuel, then you might feel like a failure if you cannot put together a “healthy” meal every time you sit down to eat.
Here are 3 consequences of thinking of food as fuel, and what you should do instead.
1. You Eat More
Fuel is a material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power. Yes, in the most basic sense, food provides us with calories, which provides energy to our bodies. This holds true for all of us, but especially for athletes and people who have higher calorie needs due to sickness or health conditions.
I can tell you that I did NOT become 100 pounds overweight because I needed 3,000 calories a day to survive. I might have been an active kid, but I certainly wasn’t burning all of those calories. Here’s an interesting idea. Heavier people burn more calories per day than their thinner people. That is why obese people tend to lose weight faster than average people.
If the heaviest thing you lift is a phone and you walk less than 10,000 steps every day, you probably don’t need as many calories to get through your day. You still need a basic level of calories, which is called the basal metabolic rate. To find out how many calories per day you need to maintain your weight, check THIS out
2. Liquid Fuel is Chosen over Non-Liquid Fuel
The energy drink business is quickly surpassing the soda industry, because we are buying into the “myth” that plain old water is not providing us what we need. Throwing vitamins, super-foods or any sort of natural sweetener into the thirst-quenchers is only good, right? Wrong!
Dressed up drinks are a marketing ploy, and nothing your body will ever need.
And, let’s not forget the overwhelming love of smoothies and juice cleanses. At a morning event the other day, I saw at least 3 smoothie bottles with breakfast drinks in them. There were only 15 people at the event. I understand not having time during the crazy morning rush. But, is a liquid breakfast providing everything that person needs for a great day?
Reducing any vegetable or fruit to just its liquid strips it of fiber. Many nutrients in fruit and vegetables come from the skin or pulp. Also, sipping drinks through a straw makes it harder for us to gauge how many calories we are actually taking in. You can easily suck down 300 calories without even realizing it.
Think of your favorite beverage of all time. It probably is not something that gives you nutrients, but it might help you wind down from your day and relax. I’m talking about the grown-up woman’s koolaid- WINE. When was the last time you calculated how many flavenols or antioxidants are your favorite glass? Knowing that there might be benefits to drinking red wine is simply an additional feature, but not a selling point.
Except for coffee (which is a requirement!), water is the only liquid our bodies really need.
3. No Wrong Way to Fuel a Lazy Day
If you are not planning to run a marathon that day, then will you make the right choices to fuel your couch time? Really, you can throw up your hands at that point and call it a day. Have you found yourself just eating whatever is there because you know you didn’t have any special events or exercise routine that day?
Unless you are a toddler, you probably have at least a couple of days when you either A) do nothing or B) feel like doing nothing. In this case, since you don’t need a lot of fuel, you might convince yourself that it doesn’t matter what you eat.
4. What about Best Sources of Fuel?
Carbohydrates are still the BEST source of fuel for our daily energy needs. This is why low-carb diets are doomed to fail. This is also why we crave sugar when we are tired. Sugar is digested most easily by our body, and can quickly provide the energy we need. Marathon runners eat a large amount of calories in the form of carbs, as do many endurance athletes.
Except for a rare few individuals, eliminating most sources of carbs sets us up for a spiral of yo-yo dieting. This is why many people who are successful at long-term low carb eating have to eat frequently throughout the day. Protein and fat provide more long-term energy that fuels muscle, but they do not provide quick bursts of energy as well as carbs do.
Garfield the cat said it best. The true measure of pleasure in a food still boils down to how many calories it has. Per serving, carbs have more calories than protein. Fat has higher calories, but few of us enjoy chewing the fat as much as gnawing the carbs.
A study discovered that 96% of people gained weight after a diet that ditched their favorite foods. It is important to think of food as fuel, but it is even more important to think of food as fun! It would be nice to eat a large bowl of broccoli instead of popcorn at the movies, but you might end up hating that movie (and broccoli) instead.
Don’t ditch your favorite foods. Instead, find a balance between food for fuel, and food for fun. To learn more about how you can fill up your plate (without filling out your waistline!) enter your email address in the box below.