Count Nutrients, Not Calories
Our society is obsessed with calories. All over the grocery store, you’ll find pre-packaged items that advertise low calories…from cookies to ice cream to potato chips.
While having an idea of how many calories you’re consuming in a day can be a good thing, paying attention to the kinds of foods you’re eating is much more important.
In reality, calories are not all equal. Eating a 100-calorie cookie pack is much different than eating 100 calories worth of berries. The berries are real food. Pre-packaged cookies are not.
If we only worried about calories, we could eat 2000-calories worth of junk in a day. But we know that if we do this, we feel horrible and aren’t being healthy. While our calorie count may be okay, we can still develop diabetes, inflammation, and a host of other issues.
Food isn’t calories. It’s nutrients.
You may be wondering, “If I don’t watch my calories, how will I know how much to eat in a day?”
Simple. You’ll eat the right combination of macronutrients for you.
What are macronutrients?
They are the building blocks of our food: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Instead of worrying about calories, here are my recommendations for macronutrients each day:
1. Carbohydrates (AKA “Carbs”)
I recommend eating approximately 100-150 grams of net carbs per day. You get the net grams of food by subtracting the fiber grams from the total carbohydrates. If you are more active, you’ll want to eat closer the higher end of this range. If you are less active, you will want to eat less.
Here are some examples of healthy carbohydrates:
· beets and other root veggies
· gluten-free oats
· buckwheat (naturally gluten-free)
· kidney beans
· leafy greens
· wild rice
· dark chocolate (70 percent cacao or darker)
Protein is needed for a lot of the functions in your body, including growth and tissue repair. A lot of people will load up on protein when they are trying to reduce the number of carbs they’re eating. However, I find that a lot of people are eating more protein than they really need.
I recommend sticking with around 12 ounces of protein per day. You may find that you need more protein if you are very active or less protein if you are not as active.
Some of my clients find that they prefer plant protein or animal protein. I personally find that a combination of both works well for me.
Vegetables with the highest protein content include:
· Green peas
· Russet potatoes
· Collard greens
· Hubbard squash
· Corn (there’s more to the story on this one that we’ll discuss later)
· Sweet potato
· Brussel sprouts
There are also some great plant-based protein powders on the market.
When eating animal-based protein, I recommend sticking to grass-fed.
Fat can be a scary word. If you went through the low-fat, non-fat craze of the ‘90s like I did, you may still have a hard time breaking yourself of reaching for low-fat and non-fat foods at the store.
But the truth is that our body NEEDS fat. Did you know that your brain is made of fat? It needs fat to stay healthy. Also, fat keeps you feeling satisfied longer so you won’t tend to eat as often (AKA weight loss!).
Fats are also very important for us ladies because fats help to regulate our hormones.
There are many more benefits to eating healthy fats, but I’ll stop there for now.
The key is to eat the right kinds of fats and to find the amounts that feel good to you in your diet. I recommend starting out with adding a little to your meals, like ¼ of an avocado, 1 TBSP olive oil or coconut oil, or a tablespoon of raw nuts…and experiment from there.
Here are examples of healthy fats:
· Coconut and coconut oil
· Avocado and avocado oil
· Nuts and nut butters
· Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
· Chia seeds
· Whole eggs
· High-fat dairy products
· Olives and olive oil
· Fatty fish
· Dark chocolate(Can I get an “Amen”?)
· Raw cacao butter
· Red meat (grass-fed)
· Animal fats—tallow, lard, duck fat (I like the brand “Fatworks”)
· Red palm oil
When you focus on nutrients versus calories, you can have more fun with your health. You’re free to experiment and see what feels good in your body without having to stick to a strict number each day.
Every body is different. And every body will need nutrients in varying amounts. My intention is to give you a place to start so you can experiment from here.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and I’d love to hear from you! How do you nourish yourself with quality nutrients? Share below!
To your TRUE Health,
Is your current health keeping you from living full out as the woman God created you to be? I love helping my clients step into the best version of themselves and feel AMAZING while doing it! Want a sample of how powerful coaching can be in your life? Go here for a free wellness breakthrough session with me! In our call, we’ll figure out where you’re stuck and how to get unstuck so you can get into action and start living life how you want to be living it.