What Does This Look Like in Actual Food?

Nutrition Centre

Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake. Once you know what foods to eat, use your hand to help you control portion sizes!

Carbohydrates

Foods that contain carbohydrate or “carbs” are

  • grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley
  • grain-based foods like bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers
  • starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn
  • fruit and juice
  • milk and yogurt
  • dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers
  • sweets and snack foods like sodas, juice drinks, cake, cookies, candy, and chips

Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower have a little bit of carbohydrate but in general are very low.

One serving of carbohydrate is measured as 15 grams. A food that contains 15 grams of carbohydrate is called “one carb serving”.

For example there is about 15 grams of carbohydrate in:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
  • ½ cup of canned or frozen fruit
  • 1 slice of bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
  • ½ English muffin or hamburger bun
  • ½ cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
  • ¼ of a large baked potato (3 oz)
  • 2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
  • 1 cup of soup

Source: American Diabetes Association. Carbohydrate Counting

Enjoy eating carbohydrates that nourish your body like whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Try to stay away from refined grains and sweets. Limit added sugars to no more than 25% of total energy. Added sugars are defined as sugars and syrups that are added to foods during processing or preparation.

Fats

Not all fats are created equal. Have more unsaturated fat and less saturated and trans fat. Sources of unsaturated fat are flaxseed oil, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, and sardines), soymilk, peanut butter, and tofu.

  • Saturated fatty acids: Limit saturated fat to no more than 10 % of your total calories. Limit to 7 % to further reduce your risk of heart disease. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, a 10 % limit amounts to about 22 grams of saturated fat a day, while 7 % is about 15 grams. Sources are whole-fat dairy products, high fat cuts of meat, butter, cheese, ice cream, palm and coconut oil.
  • Trans fatty acids: As low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet. Sources are packaged snack foods, fried foods, solid fats like stick margarine, and commercially-baked goods.

Dietary cholesterol: Less than 300 milligrams a day. Less than 200 milligrams a day if you’re at high risk of cardiovascular disease. You also get cholesterol directly from any animal products you eat, such as eggs, meat, and dairy.

Click here to find out the amount of fat and calories in over 1,500 types of foods.

Good and Bad Fats in Meal Planning:

  • Choose fish, poultry, and lean cuts of meat with the fat and skin removed before cooking. Eat no more than 6 ounces per day or substitute vegetarian sources of protein for animal sources several times a week. Good sources include lentils and beans including soybeans
  • Broil, bake, roast, steam or poach foods rather than fry them and use oils like flaxseed and canola to cook
  • Cut down on high fat processed meats
  • Use skim or low-fat milk, cheeses, and yogurt
  • For dressings use no oil dressings or skimmed and low fat dressings instead of regular creamy dressings. Add condiments and spices like mustard, basil, ginger, garlic & cinnamon to increase flavor.
  • Stay away from packaged and processed foods, such as pies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, croissants, and muffins that are high in saturated or hydrogenated fats
  • Limit commercially fried foods, baked goods, shortenings as they will have lots of hydrogenated saturated & Trans fats which can be harmful.
  • Always read food labels. Look for the “Nutrition Facts” on the label and choose products that are lowest in fat and saturated fat. Also avoid products that list hydrogenated fats high on the ingredient list.

Protein

When choosing protein-rich foods, it’s important to look at more than just the protein content. Some foods, such as red meat, are a great source of protein but also contain high levels of saturated fat. In addition, some processed or lunch meats can be a good source of protein and contain only limited amounts of saturated fat, however many are loaded with hidden salt. The key to ensuring you eat sufficient high-quality protein is to include different types in your diet. Opt for sources of high-quality protein in seafood, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, tofu and soy products. Here are some high protein, budget friendly, healthy options:

  • ½ cup cottage cheese: 14g
  • 1 large egg: 6g
  • 1 cup soy milk: 8g
  • 3oz chicken/turkey breast: 24g
  • 3oz sockeye salmon: 23g
  • 3oz tofu: 12g
  • ¼ cup lentils: 13g
  • 2oz mixed nuts: 6g
  • 1 cup quinoa: 8g

Look back at the “Nutrients Our Bodies Need!” section to recall how much of each macronutrient you need. Want more tips on choosing protein-rich foods? Click here!

  • Choose lean or low-fat meat, poultry, and dairy products to limit your saturated fat intake.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, to reduce your daily sodium intake.
  • When shopping for canned beans, choose the low sodium versions.
  • Adding more protein to your diet can increase urine output, so drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated.
  • Increasing protein can also cause calcium loss so make sure to get plenty of calcium (1,000 to 1,200 mg per day).

Vegetarians and vegans can definitely get enough protein in their diet. Check out these vegetarian proteins you can add to your meals for that protein boost!

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