Different types of food

When structuring a healthy eating plan it is important to know what each item of food is, what function it will perform in your body and if it is going to be beneficial for your overall well being. In order for us to do this it is important to know what food group the food item belongs to. Is it a carbohydrate or a protein? Being able to choose from one of these food groups helps us to structure a well balanced and healthy eating plan.

Instead of telling you what not to eat the easiest way is to give you some recommendations on the types of food items to choose from out of each food group. This way it will help you structure your meals accordingly and plan ahead in your groceries.

Our first food group is carbohydrates. There has been a lot of talk about carbohydrates and how they can be responsible for putting on body fat. At the end of the day any food that is eaten in access will store as body fat so that is why we will also look at portion size when we choose from our list of any food group. One thing to consider when choosing your carbohydrates is how much sugar is found in the product. Quite often the 99% fat free products that we see on our shelves in the supermarket maybe low in fat but are high in simple sugars/carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates or sugar are high in calories and are a very quick source of energy. The carbohydrates that we want are called complex carbohydrates which take a lot longer for our body to break down and are a much superior form of energy.

Here is a list of complex carbohydrates that are recommended to give you a good source of energy and provide your body with the right ingredients to get in shape. Potatoes, kumara, squash or pumpkin, brown or white rice, pasta (without the sauce), oatmeal or porridge, beans, corn, whole-wheat bread, low-fat yoghurt and fruit including apples, oranges, bananas and strawberries.

Our second food group is protein. Proteins function is to help repair and build muscle that has been damaged during our day to day activities especially during exercise. It is the building block of our muscles and is highly underated in helping you achieve your fitness goals. The great thing about protein is that it takes alot more energy for your body to break it down which means you are burning more calories. The down side is good quality protein does not come cheap but it is a small price to pay for a healthy body and mind. Here is a list of good quality proteins.
Skinless chicken or turkey (preferably the breast meat), fresh fish (not battered from the fish n chip shop sorry!), canned tuna or salmon, lean beef or venison, beans, lean ham, egg whites or low fat cottage cheese.

Our final group that I would mention is vegetables. Even though they are not high in carbs or protein they are high in fiber and antioxidants and are very important to your overall health. These should be included in at least two meals a day. A good mixture of stir fry vege steamed or lightly boiled is the way to go. The frozen vegetable packs that you can get now are quick and convenient and are a good option.

So there you have it. I encourage you to choose from these food items and only reserve one day a week to enjoy those foods you have been craving for all week. On the next page we will look at how to structure your meals and what I call 'meal timing' to turn your body into a fat burning machine.