by JCC Association and One Club
Nutrients in our food provide sources of energy, act as building blocks to provide structure and regulate chemical reactions.
|The USDA Super Tracker helps you |
plan meals and track nutrients
Three macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – get most of our attention.
Understanding how these macronutrients affect your body can help you create a more balanced diet that improves your fitness and overall health.
Carbohydrates: Our primary fuel source
· Complex carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.
· Foods containing added sugars* (e.g., candy and soft drinks) are simple carbohydrates.
· Carbs are broken down into glucose and delivered to cells to produce energy.
Protein: For the foundation of our musculoskeletal system
· The structural material of bone, muscle and skin is composed of protein.
· Protein is used as a fuel source, but is not a primary source.
· Such foods as meats, legumes, eggs and nuts contain protein.
Fats: Fuels cell structures and energy
· We need fats for cell membrane structure and in other systems of the body.
· Fats work with glucose to provide large amounts of energy.
· “Good” fats include vegetable oils, nuts, and fish.
· Foods high in “bad fats” include red meat, butter, and ice cream.
A word about sugar
· Natural sugar and added sugars differ.
· Natural sugars are in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
· Cakes and cookies contain added sugar.
· Eating too much added sugar can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar plus weight gain.
· Choose a healthy-carb diet over a no-carb way of eating.
· Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat protein sources.
· Include foods with good fats and limit foods high in saturated fats (e.g., red meat).
· Avoid foods that contain trans fats.
· Choose water (or other healthy beverages) over sugary drinks.
· Limit salt intake.
· Eat small meals throughout the day and never skip a meal.
· Utilize the USDA’s plate model to determine correct proportions.