Why Healthy Eating Isn't Always About the Vegetables
When envisioning what healthy eating may look like, a colorful plate with veggies more than likely comes to mind. From their low calorie content to their ample supply of fiber and nutrients, it would fundamentally be senseless to ignore their inclusion, though healthy eating is not always about vegetables!
How to Eat Healthy Without Vegetables
First off, veggies should absolutely not be discounted. However, their intake is not the only shining star on the meal plate, as healthy eating and adequate meals further incorporate:
Also known as starches, complex carbs provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber and mostly found in whole grains, legumes, and veggies. Compared to simple carbs, complex carbohydrates are naturally-occurring rather than processed and refined that lack valuable nutrients. Additional healthy carbs include milk and dairy products along with nature's sweetened, colorful bounty of fruits.
Protein is imperative to health, as it builds and maintains muscles, tendons, and ligaments and supports the brain, skin, critical body organs, and circulatory and immune systems. A healthy diet involves both lean and plant-based protein sources such as chicken, turkey, sirloin, seafood and fish, tofu and tempeh, and beans and lentils.
Unlike popular belief, the consumption of dietary fat does not necessarily turn into body fat, as weight gain can be related to excess carbs and fat, too. But considering fat is calorically-dense, individuals are encouraged to consume fats in moderation along with paying attention to the type they choose to eat. Healthy fats, in the forms of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, are shown to fight against inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease. Healthy fat sources include avocadoes, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and olive and canola oils.
Along with including the nutrients identified above, it is important to limit the consumption of:
Not all sugar sources tell the same sweet story, as a naturally-sweetened piece of fruit offers rich nutrients a chocolate chip cookie often lacks. Continuous and ongoing evidence related to sugar's effect on health, including weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Men and women are encouraged to limit added sugar consumption to 38 to 25 grams per day, respectively.
Although the body requires salt and sodium to maintain electrolyte balance, the general U.S. population is probably consuming too much of it. The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages individuals to limit consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day, unless managing high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and other health conditions that may require specific guidelines.
Saturated fats are mostly found in processed meats, whole and full-fat milk and dairy products, some plant oils such as palm and coconut, and convenience snacks using butter and such oils. The AHA encourages consuming less than seven percent of total daily calories from saturated fat, translating to no more than 120 calories (or 13 grams) from such sources, to lessen the risk of heart disease.
Trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, are mostly found in margarine, fried foods, and snacks. While dietary fats fit into a well-balanced diet, including saturated fat, trans fats are encouraged to be eliminated or significantly reduced related to their negative and evident consequences to health. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated the year 2018 as a deadline for trans fat to be taken out of processed foods. But until their removal, the AHA recommends reducing trans fat intake to less than one percent of total daily calories, equivalent to 20 calories and two grams based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Eating Healthy with bistroMD
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