Tag Archives: balanced diet

Clean Eating

Clean eating seems to be buzzing around social media lately.  Is it just a new diet craze or an eating plan you should follow?  Here’s what I could find and my opinion.

The basic idea of eating clean is what it sounds like.  You focus on unprocessed, whole, natural foods.  The diet emphasizes getting a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at each meal.  Getting enough protein early in the day is emphasized.  Eating several smaller meals throughout the day is recommended.   Avoid excess fat, salt, and sugar.  “Clean” sugars are honey and maple syrup.  Avoid drinking calories, but focus on water.  Exercise is also encouraged.

Overall, this seems more like a lifestyle than a diet.  I agree with most of the basic principles.  Avoiding “processed” foods is generally beneficial (although that is a fairly ambiguous term, read more here).  Most of us don’t get enough protein in the morning, so that is a great idea.  Avoiding high calorie drinks and increasing your physical activity are also great ideas.

I don’t agree that everyone needs to eat several small meals throughout the day.  For many people, this eating plan can be beneficial.  But for some, they will just eat more.  it takes planning and thought to make sure you are not consuming more calories in the day when you eat more meals.  I don’t think it is a generally bad idea, but it isn’t the solution for everyone.

I also dislike calling honey and maple syrup as superior to any other form of sugar.  They are all sugar and add calories.  You should use any of them in moderation.

For once, I can actually recommend a diet I’m reviewing!  Happy eating everyone!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

(Information from Cooking Light)

 

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McDonald’s

Big Mac and Shamrock Shake - my order at McDonald's.

Big Mac and Shamrock Shake – my order at McDonald’s.

When I tell people I’m a dietitian, they automatically assume I eat super healthy and never eat fast food. I would say my efforts to eat a balanced, healthful diet are above average but certainly not extreme. And I certainly eat out, even fast food. I’ve said many times on this site that I think all foods can be included in a healthy diet, and I truly believe it.

My husband sent me this article from CNN: “10 Nutritionists Reveal What They’d Order at McDonald’s“. It is ten registered dietitians talking about what they eat at the fast food giant. Most are some variation of a salad. My favorite is number six: fries and a milkshake. Hooray for someone we can all relate to and be friends with!

My real approach to what to order at fast food or any restaurant really depends on frequency. I go out to eat a couple times a month, maybe averaging once a week on an extravagant month. I don’t feel the need to always get a salad or avoid a more “indulgent” choice when I do. As pictured above, my last McDonald’s run was colorful only due to large amounts of food coloring in my shamrock shake. Compare that to my husband, who goes out to eat at least three times a week. His restaurant food choices matter more in the grand scheme of his overall diet.

What do you order at McDonald’s? I’d love to hear your thoughts on fast food dining in the comments.

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Beyond vitamins

Salads are a great way to incorporate a rainbow of colors.

Salads are a great way to incorporate a rainbow of colors.

People often wonder if they can just take a multi-vitamin and skip eating their fruits and vegetables. I always say no! A pill does not contain all the phytochemicals your foods do, among the many other benefits of foods over supplements.

Phytochemicals are substances that naturally occur in plant foods. They can contribute to the color, flavor, or odor of the plant. The difference between a phytochemical and a vitamin is that phytochemicals are not known to be essential. A phytochemical can have health benefits, though. You might be more familiar with the names of some of the common phytochemicals than the term phytochemical itself: flavonoid, carotenoid, isoflavones, phytonutrient.

There are many health claims out there for phytochemicals. Some are thought to help fight cancer, such as lutein and isoflavones. Resveratrol, a phytochemical in grapes and red wine, may help slow the effects of aging. Beta-carotene may boost the immune system and help with vision. Research is ongoing on how these substances effect the body and in what amounts.

How do you get enough phytochemicals? By eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables. The color of the plant can correspond with different phytochemicals. For example, beta-carotene is found in dark orange or dark green leafy vegetables. Lycopene is found in red foods, particularly tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit. Anthocyanidins are found in red and purple berries. By consuming a balanced diet with many different colors of fruits and vegetables, you will get a variety of phytochemicals and all of their health benefits.

So make sure you are getting not only your recommended number of fruits and veggies each day, but also make sure there are a rainbow of colors in there, too.  Happy eating!

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Rethinking a “balanced” diet

I found this article on the diet of hipsters very interesting. It talks about how hipsters have a hypocritical diet – eating lots of kale and organic food along with high-calorie beer and large amounts of bacon.

The article makes an interesting point about the balance of healthy and unhealthy items in our diets. We all like to think we’ve made enough good choices to justify a treat every night, but we probably haven’t. Also, these things don’t balance out like that nor should you want your healthy/unhealthy scale balanced at the end of the day.  You want it tipped to the healthy side.

I know I struggle with this in general, but even more so recently. I am training to run a half marathon in a few weeks. When I go on my long training runs, my running app on my phone tells me I’ve burned more than a thousand calories. I try to focus on protein and complex carbs to refuel, but I often let it be an excuse for a second dessert that evening.

The article and I are not saying you can’t indulge. We are saying instead of looking at your healthy choice as an excuse to indulge, look at it as a springboard to be even more healthy. Why essentially negate one healthy choice with a bad one? Think instead: I ate a healthy breakfast and feel great, which means I’ll feel even better if I eat a healthy lunch.

Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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