by Jeremy Likness
Regardless of what nutrition program you are following -- whether it is low carbohydrate, low fat, no-sugar or based on some other method -- there are always healthier choices that can be made when you are shopping. This guide will share what foods are the healthiest choices when looking for proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vegetables.
Lean proteins are the main source of amino acids in the diet.
- All fish and shellfish (cold water fish are generally preferred to double as a source of healthy fats)
- Chicken breast
- Cottage cheese (use full fat unless watching calories, as there are healthy fats such as conjugated linoleic acid in dairy fat)
- Eggs (whole eggs from free range or grain-fed chickens contain healthier fats in the yolk)
- Lamb (leaner cuts or in moderation)
- Lean beef (10% fat or less - steam and drain excess fat for best results)
- Ostrich - tip: this meat should be seared on the outside and remain rare or medium rare on the inside or it may be too tough
- Protein powders
- Turkey breast
Carbohydrates are not the evil they have been made out to be. There are certainly "good carbs" and "bad carbs." The classification relates more to a combination of factors than any single criteria (such as simple or complex or the glycemic index - for more information, check out "Become the Journey.") These carbohydrates are on our "good" list:
Plain whole yogurt
Applesauce (no sugar)
Fats have received a bad reputation lately, when they are an important part of the diet. I typically consume at least one portion of fats for every 45 pounds of weight - a portion being around a tablespoon of liquid, or 1/8 - 1/4 cups or 1 - 2 ounces of seeds or cheese. Here is a healthy fats calculator. The fats I consider healthy include:
Butter (in moderation)
Cheese (in moderation)
Peanut butter - All natural
Pumpkin and squash seeds
I consider vegetables to be one of the most underrated components of a healthy diet. Not only do these supply incredible amounts of nutrients, they are rich with water and can help with hydration and contain various chemicals that have been shown to fight cancer and other illnesses. Most importantly, they provide fiber and are tough for the body to process, so they may actually raise the metabolism and aid the body with burning fat. I place no restrictions on these vegetables in my nutrition plans, and consume as much of these as possible along with two to four servings of fruit each day.
The good vegetable list includes: Amaranth leaves, arugula, asparagus, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, beet greens, bell peppers, borage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cardoon, carrots (raw), cauliflower, celery, chicory, chives, collard greens, cowpeas, cucumber, dandelion greens, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger root, gourd, green beans, jalapeño peppers, kale, lamb's quarters, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, parsley, peppers, radishes, radicchio, scallop squash, snap beans, snow peas, spinach, spaghetti squash, summer squash, zucchini, taro leaves, tomatoes, turnip greens and watercress.
While this is by no means an all-inclusive list, it should be a great start for shopping healthy. In general, focus on whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. If you are concerned with convenience, create time on the weekend to prepare your meals and then store them in containers and bags to reheat when you are ready to consume them.
Excerpted from Become the Journey: A Transformation Guide.
Jeremy Likness is a Certified Fitness Trainer and a Specialist in Performance Nutrition; both certifications awarded through the International Sports Sciences Association. He has been published been published in international trade magazines such as iSeries Network - formerly News/400 in the information technology industry, as well as on various websites in the health and fitness industry (Bodybuilding.com, DolfZine.com, and ProTrainerOnline.com).
Copyright © Jeremy Likness. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.