Where is your focus on food? What to eat or what not to eat?
Granted you still need to pay some attention about what not to eat, but really, have you neglected to make sure you are getting everything you do need?
Constantly focusing on what not to eat puts your brain into a negative mode. It is much easier to feel deprived if you are constantly focusing on what you can’t have. Let’s face it. If you are constantly thinking about all the cakes, cookies, pies, candy, ice cream or whatever that you can’t have, then you will end up wanting it even more because of all the focus you’ve been doing with your brain and thoughts!
What you need
Instead, try putting a little more energy into making sure you are getting enough of the good stuff. It’s fairly common for American adults to not be getting enough protein. It’s also extremely common for most Americans to not be getting enough vegetables. Another commonly undereaten item: good fat.
The *average American female needs roughly 45 g. of protein per day. That breaks down to 15 g. per meal or less if you have snacks with protein in them. For the sake of example, if you don’t regularly have snacks, you would need 15 g. of protein per meal.
Large eggs are 6 g. each. One ounce of cheddar or swiss cheese is 7-8 g. of protein. So if you have 2 scrambled eggs with 1 ounce of melted cheese on top that’s 19-20 g., plenty for that meal.
An ounce of meat or fish has approximately 7 g. of protein, so for that meal you would need to consume about 2 1/2 ounces of meal. To put this into another perspective, a 3 oz. piece of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.*To calculate the number of protein grams that’s right for you, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2 to figure out your weight in kilograms. Then multiply that number by 0.8 (not very active) through 1.8 (extremely active), depending on how much exercise you get. If you are ill or doing a lot of weight lifting exercises you may need even more.
Check out my Ways to get More Protein for Breakfast blog post.
Vegetables and Fruits
Most experts recommend a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables with the emphasis on vegetables. For sake of example, let’s say your goal is then, 2 fruits and 3 vegetables per day (approximately 1/2 c. per serving). How will you divide that up between your meals and snacks? Chances are if you don’t plan it out ahead of time, it won’t get done and you will get to the end of the day without the minimums being consumed.
You may want to shoot for eating a wider variety of colors of vegetables (red, blue/purple, yellow, red, green, white). You want want to aim for having more of your fruits and vegetables in the raw form (some experts say we should consume 1/3 to 1/2 of our diet in the raw form). You may want to include a salad every day or some freshly squeezed vegetables juices. Whatever your goal is, you need to plan ahead and then focus on getting those items in your diet.
Some fat is essential to health and life. You will need to focus positively on getting into your diet some fatty fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, flax seed oil, olives, avocados. Even saturated fat from healthily raised animals (grass fed beef for example) is good for you. That goes for dairy products too! (“Organic” on the label does not guarantee this, but it could be true. The best way to be sure is to go to your local farmer’s market and ask the vendor how the animals were raised.)
For sake of example, let’s say you want to concentrate on getting 1 T. of flax seed oil everyday. How are you going to do this? You must plan ahead and focus on the positive outcome of consuming the oil. (One good way is to make your own salad dressing with this oil, or you could add this oil into your morning juice or smoothie.)Fats to avoid are the trans fats.Trans fats are the fats that raise your LDL cholesterol level and lower your HDL cholesterol level which is the exact combination that increases your risk of heart disease.
Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. They are found in commercially baked goods, doughnuts, French fries, shortening, and margarine.
To help avoid trans fats check the labels for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” and for shortening.
Focusing on what to eat
As you will probably guess, focusing on what to eat does take some energy and thought. All that thought and energy are going towards the positive though! Believe me it makes a big difference instead of always focusing on what you can’t have! From my own experience when I try harder to make sure I am getting into my diet my current diet goal items, it is easier to say “no” to what is forbidden. I’m sure you will find this to be true for yourself as well. Let me know how it works out for you in the comment section below.
Check out my list of recipe blog posts to help you plan out your meals.
Join the conversation. Share your ideas or questions in the comment form below.
(c) 2011 Cheryl Cope
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