The healthy eating menu follows the food pyramid – a balanced selection from all the food groups. Our body gets its energy (calories) from nutrients provided by 3 sources: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Planning your meal means picking a combination of all 3 sources so you can get all the nutrients your body needs.
Protein is of “primary importance.” That’s what it means in the Greek language. Our bodies contain up to fifty thousand kinds of protein which are broken down into amino acids (building blocks). They are built and rebuilt to provide energy. Since our body can not store amino acids like it stores fat, it needs good quality protein on a daily basis to sustain life. 20% of a typical American diet come from protein.
Carbohydrates come from plant-based foods, and are the major source of energy for our body. Carbohydrates are used right away for our energy needs or are converted into fat and stored to be used later. Carbohydrates divide into three categories, sugars, starches and fiber.
A combination of fats, protein, and carbohydrates, make up the source of energy which our body consumes (calories). Fats are divided into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
The healthy food choices you make every day will affect your health and the progress you make on your well-being. Variety is important. Choose from every one of the food groups.
I try to base my healthy eating menu by using foods of different colors, textures, shapes, and tastes in each meal such as a leafy green salad garnished with yellow pepper and red tomato, or rice and lentils combined with broccoli and carrots, or chicken with asparagus and sauteed red peppers.
Eat 6 Meals A Day
My dietitian recommends that I have 6 meals a day. I reduced the size of my breakfast, lunch and dinner, and added snacks between them. This way I eat every 2-3 hours and I’m not starving when I sit down to eat, and my metabolism speeds up. For snacks I eat a piece of fruit, a hand full of almonds or other nuts, un-buttered unsalted popcorn, or yogurt.
Have It Your Way
You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy. Just eat whole foods, eat in moderation, and make gradual changes. I added new foods and gradually reduced my dependence on fats (saturated and trans fats), sugars, and salt..
Fashion your healthy eating menu to your own taste, pick and choose from all the food groups, combine them to a variety of colors and tastes to keep your body healthy.