Meal Planning Week 12 is all about healthy eating. This week is all about foods that are healthy to eat and not about healthy eating lifestyles.
Weekly Meal Planning Week 12 is sharing some lighter recipes for the summer months. And our health. Of course, healthy is a square peg. What’s healthy to one person isn’t healthy for another.
There’s a myriad of eating lifestyles and everyone argues theirs is the best. I will be staying away from these “fad” diets as I like to call them. Don’t yell at me. I have been on more diets since I was a kid than I can count on my fingers and toes. If you’ve heard of the rice and fruit diet, then you know what I’m talking about.
Eating healthy is about having a rainbow on your plate. Lots of color equals lots of nutrition, vitamins, minerals; all the good stuff that your body needs. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a healthy choice. And the less processed the better. If fresh is not available, then canned and frozen varieties are always an excellent option. I always go for the low or no sodium options in the canned goods. Added sodium is usually not a healthy option.
Nutrient rich foods are also a healthy option. These are foods where the pros outweigh the cons. Meaning, the nutrients gained from eating them far outweigh the calories in those foods. They provide essential micronutrients that our bodies need. These micronutrients help keep us healthy and can reduce our risks for chronic diseases.
Proteins like salmon, shellfish, liver, and sardines are a nutrient rich food. The omega-3 fatty acids in one serving of salmon is enough to cover your recommended daily allowance (RDA) for omega-3s in one meal. Shellfish are jam packed with B12, vitamin C, selenium, potassium, iron, and various B vitamins. Liver, yes, I know I made the same face. But liver has an insane amount of nutrients: B12, B5, B6, B2, A, niacin, folate, copper, iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and animal protein. Sardines are nearly perfect because they contain a little bit of everything your body needs.
Kale, seaweed, garlic, and potatoes are nutrient rich vegetables. Is seaweed a vegetable? I’m lumping it in here anyway. Kale is not only tasty, but contains vitamins C, A, and K1. It also has B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Seaweed has iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese, too. But it also has iodine, which helps with healthy thyroid function. I don’t think I need to discuss the healthy benefits of garlic.
Potatoes? Seriously? Yes, they’re a carb or a starch. But they, like sardines, also contain a little bit of everything your body needs. Some people have even lived on potatoes alone. Not only are they rich in nutrients, but they’re very filling, too. And you don’t have to eat them hot. When cooled potatoes form a resistant starch which is sort of like soluble fiber in your system.
What fruits are nutrient rich?
Essentially every kind of common citrus like oranges, lemons, limes, etc. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are top of the list. Pomegranates. They are high in antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C. Pineapples have bromelain. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s something I found out about not too long ago when I was having sinus issues. It helps reduce nasal inflammation and sinusitis.
Then there’s bananas. There’s no question they have plenty of potassium, but they also have fiber and are an excellent source of energy. I know most do not associate avocados with fruits, but they are. They are a large berry with a single seed. Yes, that means strawberries technically aren’t fruits. That’s a whole other discussion. Avocados not only have an excellent source or monounsaturated fat, but they have lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant that is important for healthy skin and eyes.
Meal Planning Week 12 don’t discount eggs. Yes, eggs are nutrient rich, too. In particular, egg yolks. Eggs are high in lutein, zeaxanthin (carotenoid that helps protect the eyes), protein, and healthy fats. They are also relatively inexpensive and are delicious for almost every meal. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite ways to get extra eggs in. But don’t go hog wild on them.
Chocolate is healthy. Yes. Dark chocolate is healthy. It has amazing antioxidants along with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Cocoa has even more antioxidants than blueberries and acai berries! Chocolate is not only tasty but can help prevent heart disease. Make sure you’re looking for 70% cocoa or higher for the best micronutrients.
Where’s the nutrient rich meat?
Meat is relative. It should be protein, but most search for meat and not protein. For most, lean protein is the best choice. Yes, it can be dry. But cooking skills are key to make sure the lean meat is not over cooked. If it’s ground meat, add in some veggies to maintain moisture and add flavor.
Lamb and duck are healthy proteins. Lamb has omega-3 and duck is lower in calories and fat than even chicken breast. Of course, that is skinless duck. Tuna is also nutrient rich and totally delicious. When buying tinned tuna, look for those packed in water and not oil.
Meat free based proteins like beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy-based foods are also nutrient rich. Lentils are high in fiber and possibly the best plant-based protein you can eat. Hemp seeds have 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons. They also have vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.
For Meal Planning Week 12 I have thrown an enormous amount of healthy information your way. This is speaking just nutrient rich and healthy foods to eat. I haven’t delved into any of the diets out there. Some of you are balking at the legumes and the potatoes because you’re low/no carb eaters. And that’s fine. Eat whatever way you think is best for your body. Which is why I said that healthy to one is not healthy or everyone.
Which is better? Low carb or low fat?
People can argue both ways on this one. It really is up to you to decide if this lifestyle is for you or not. A keto diet can not only reduce your appetite but also leads to initial rapid weight loss usually from those stubborn areas like the belly. Triglycerides are typically lowered, good cholesterol increases, blood sugar and insulin decreases, and is effect against metabolic syndrome.
Sounds all great, right? One downside is the initial groggy and physical symptoms when someone starts a keto lifestyle. Yes, this passes. But the potential for increased risk of kidney stones, liver disease, and micronutrient deficiencies does not pass. The long-term effects of a keto diet, not to mention the effects of a high fat diet on cardiovascular health, on the human body has little to no research.
I went to see a doctor a few years ago because I had some concerns about my knees and my foot. I really just wanted a referral. But this doctor didn’t really listen to anything I was saying. She took one look at my obese self and made up her mind. The solution to all my problems was to stop eating carbs. Yeah. Whatever.
So, I did some research for Meal Planning Week 12. I found a year long study at Stanford where participants were given the same grams of protein and the same number of calories. The only difference between the two groups; one group ate a low carb diet and the other a low-fat diet. After 12 months, the low-fat group lost 11.7 lbs and the low carb group lost 13.2 pounds. Yes, there were health benefits from both groups, but the result of the study is that one diet is not better than the other.
For me, I have an unhealthy relationship with food. So, I have chosen to try some intermittent fasting. My hope is that my body will reset its requirement for food. I want my metabolic rate and hormones to reset. And I hope that it will allow the stored fat to be more of an energy source than a source of frustration and shame. Yes. Shame. And pain. I know losing weight will help my knees and my self-esteem. There’s a closet full of clothes I cannot part with that I want to wear again. I’m ashamed that I gained all the weight I lost before. Yes. It’s confession time on AKHA.
Intermittent fasting (IF) helps boost human growth hormone which promotes fat loss and muscle gain. Yes, we all know this from watching Sports Center. Insulin lowers. This is good for me because I usually am hypoglycemic. I am watching how I feel as I fast and if I feel the least bit shaky, I will simply eat something. But that has yet to happen. Cellular repair is boosted during IF. This is where the cells basically digest the old, dysfunctional protein that builds up in cells.
I have been fasting for a few days now. I am not eating more during the times that I am able to eat. That’s the key. Not overeating when you can eat. Just eat what you normally would eat. After a few days, I find myself more mindful when I do eat and typically do not overeat. Of course, last night’s ribs were difficult to resist. But in my defense, 2/3 my plate was corn and zucchini and potato salad. I only had 2 or 3 ribs.
I know I have covered more nutritional than diets, but that was my plan. My focus for this post was to talk about what is healthy. And nutrient rich foods are healthy regardless of your nutrition lifestyle. The recipes I’ve shared are more baked, grilled, and broiled. These are all healthy ways to cook proteins and veggies. My hope is to expand your thoughts and mine on what is healthy.