Aha Fitness

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How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right

on February 28, 2013

For just a minute (or however long it takes you to read this blog), I would like for you to think about calories as a type of currency.

How are you spending your calories?

When it comes to your bank account, you know there are some things you need to fit into your budget.  Most of us have to pay rent or a mortgage.  We have to put gas in our cars, put food on our table, and even allocate our funds for toiletries.  While many of us would like to take our paycheck and head off on a vacation or to our favorite store, we understand that we must make sure our needs are met before we can spend money on our wants.

When it comes to calories, are you making sure your nutritional needs are being met?

 

Now, when we go to the grocery store, all of the food items have a price tag just like everything else.  Yes, there is the actual cost of the food, but the real value of foods is given in the nutritional label.  Some items are super high in calorie cost, but low in nutritional value like ice cream and potato chips.  Conversely, some items are lower in calories but high in nutrients, like anything in the produce isle.  There are, of course, other items with different cost/value ratios.  The problem, as I see it, is many of us are becoming more conscious of calories, but we are ignoring the nutrient value of foods.  This is mostly because we know if we eat too many calories, we will gain weight, but we don’t think about, and some people don’t even know, that if we don’t meet our nutritional needs with certain foods we will develop poor health, disease, and absolutely hinder our abilities to reach and maintain an ideal weight.

Our bodies require a certain amount of necessary vitamins and minerals to survive.  We need adequate amounts of protein and essential fats.  We thrive on foods that are free of preservatives, pesticides, and genetically-modified and artificial ingredients.  Yes, we need to watch our calories if we want to be at an ideal weight, but if we want to truly be successful in taking care of our health, we need to ensure we are spending our calories wisely.

So how do you make sure your nutrient needs are being met?  One option would be going to your doctor and ask for a test to find out if you are deficient in any nutrients.  Restoring your deficiencies is very important!  Consider how many people these days have found out they are low in Vitamin D.  I could write a whole other blog on the “low Vitamin D epidemic,” but nevertheless, people taking vitamin D supplements is as common today as people using mouthwash.  If, however, people were paying attention to how much Vitamin D they were getting from natural foods (and the sun), would they need to supplement with a pill at all?

Another way you can find out if your diet is lacking in necessary nutrients is to track your foods.  There are websites like Lose It! and Fit Day.  which make this very easy.  You record the foods you eat using a database, and the website adds up the calories and nutrition for you.  Note:  Make sure you don’t just use it as a calorie counting log.  LOOK at your nutrient scores and make note of nutrients you consistently don’t eat enough of.

Finally, be smarter with your calorie budget when you are grocery shopping.  Read the nutrition labels for more than just the calorie information.  Don’t just see how much something costs, take a look at its value.  How much sugar does it have?  Does it have any trans fats?  Go a step further and READ the ingredients list.  Does it have more than 5 ingredients?  More than 20?

There is a new book that has just come out calledRich Food, Poor Food by the Caltons.  You know, I only encourage you to buy products I believe in, and I tell you, this book is like having a financial adviser for your calories at the grocery store.  Listen, would you buy toilet paper that was made from the anal glands of beavers?  Well, guess what?  After reading this book, I found out good ol’ beaver butt is used to make raspberry flavoring in many food products.  So it really can be worth it to have some professional advice about what you are paying for (and eating).

However you decide to become savvier at managing your calorie budget, I hope my little blog here has motivated you to do so.  For the last time, it’s not just about calories in and calories out.  I can spend my entire paycheck at Macy’s and not overdraw my bank account, but what will happen at the end of the month?  It’s amazing how when we take the focus away from calories and start thinking about how we can get better nutrition, everything seems to fall into place. Our energy improves, our food cravings go away, we feel more satiated, less hungry…we just feel better.

There are so many delicious nutrient-rich foods available to you.  Give your palette a taste of wealth, and you will buy yourself a lifetime of good health.

Now, it’s your turn.  How do you keep your diet nutrient-rich?  Do you sometimes slip into eating poorly?  Let me know your “two cents” on eating right!

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3 responses to “How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right

  1. […] How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right (ahafitness.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right […]

  3. […] How to Make “Cents” of Eating Right (ahafitness.wordpress.com) […]

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