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Healthy Eating

Your Nutrition Needs

Your Nutrition Needs

Macronutrients

You may have heard about food being separated into 3 MACRONUTRIENT groups:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Fats
  3. Proteins

Dieticians recommend that 55-65% of your daily caloric intake should be from carbohydrates, 25-30% from fat, and 10-15% from protein.

Carbohydrates

What Are They?

There are 2 main types of carbohydrates – simple and complexSimple carbohydrates(aka simple sugars) are made up of 1 or 2 sugar molecules (aka mono- or di- saccharides) and digested quickly by the body (e.g. fructose – found in fruit juice). Complex carbohydrates are made up of more than 2 sugar molecules (aka polysaccharides) and digested slowly by the body (e.g. starch – found in potatoes).

Why Do I Need Them?

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. Our body stores approximately 400 grams of carbohydrates in our liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. This provides us with enough energy for our bursts of regular activity unless we are engaging in long-distance or endurance activities.  In addition to being a preferred source of energy, carbohydrates are the only source of energy for red blood cells and the brain. This helps explain why people on low-carbohydrate diets often feel tired and have trouble concentrating.

Where Do I Find Them?

Carbohydrates are found mostly in plant foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, and grain products) however milk products do contain some carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates in foods are measured in grams (1gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories). 

Food

Grams of Carbohydrate

Number of Calories

Apple

19g

72

Banana

27g

105

Orange

16g

65

Tomato

5g

22

Carrot (1 medium)

6g

25

Red pepper (1 medium)

7g

31

Brown rice (1/2 c.)

22g

108

Sweet potato

24g

103

Whole wheat bread (1 slice)

13g

69

1% Milk (1 c.)

12g

102

Low fat fruit yogurt (1/2 c.)

23g

122

Cheddar cheese (1 oz.)

0.4g

114

Proteins

What Are They?

Proteins (aka amino acids) are categorized in 2 ways, the first of which is based on how they are obtained. Nine amino acids are labeled as essential because they are obtained from food and 11 are considered nonessential since they are manufactured by the body. Proteins are also categorized depending on the amount of essential amino acids they contain. Complete proteins have all the essential amino acids while incomplete protein contain limited amounts of amino acids and need to be paired a complimentary one.

Why Do I Need Them?

Protein has a major structural component in every cell in our body plus it’s important in cell growth, repair, and maintenance. All of our tissues (i.e., bones, skin, muscles, and organs) have their own set of proteins to perform various functions.  How much protein each person needs depends on their weight or more specifically their muscle mass. If at a healthy weight and body composition, people should consume 0.4 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.

Where Do I Find Them?

While complete proteins are found in animal meats, plant foods such as grains and legumes plus dairy products such as milk and yogurt are a good source of incomplete proteins. The amount of protein in food is measured in grams (1gram of protein = 4 calories). 

Food

Grams of Protein

Number of Calories

Chicken breast (3 ½ oz.)

27g

142

Salmon (3 ½ oz.)

21g

216

Tofu (1/2 c.)

20g

180

Almonds (3 Tbs.)

19g

167

Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 c.)

14g

82

Eggs (2)

10g

122

Lentils (1/2 c.)

9g

116

Fats

What Are They?

Fats (aka lipids or fatty acids) are categorized in a bunch of different ways but for nutritional purposes it’s important to know the difference between saturatedmonounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. These categories are based on the chemical structure of the fat molecule & how much room it has for hydrogen atoms. 

Saturated fats have no room for hydrogen atoms & are found mostly in animal products. They are classified as the unhealthy fats because they raise your risk of heart disease. However, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats have room for one or more hydrogen atoms & are found in plant and seafood products. They are classified as the healthy fats because they lower your risk of heart disease.  The other type of fat that’s important to know about is trans fat. This type of fat, while sometimes found naturally in animal products, is often created through a process called hydrogenation which turns oil into a semi-solid form (e.g. margarine) to give it a longer shelf-life. Trans fats, like saturated fats, are considered to be an unhealthy fat because they raise your risk of heart disease.

Why Do I Need Them?

Believe it or not but a healthy body needs some fat. We use it to make tissues, manufacture hormones, insulate our body, cushion our skin, and protect our organs when we fall. It also covers our nerve cells which allow us to think, see, speak, and move.  Getting the right amount of fat in your diet is a balancing act. It’s recommended that between 25-30% of your calories should come from fat BUT that less than 10% of your fat calories should come from saturated fats.

Where Do I Find Them?

While most foods contain a combination of the different types fats, animal products have more saturated fats (e.g. butter, milk, & beef) whereas plant and seafood products have more monounsaturated (e.g. avocados, olive oil & peanuts) & polyunsaturated (e.g., salmon & corn oil) fats. The amount of fat in food is measured in grams (1gram of fat = 9 calories). 

Food

Grams of Fat

Number of Calories

Beef steak (3 oz)

9.6g

162

1% Milk (1 c.)

2.4g

102

Salmon (3 oz)

9.2g

156

Peanuts (1 oz)

14g

161

Olive Oil (1 Tbs.)

13.5g

119

Avocado (1)

29.5g

322

Butter (1Tbs.)

11.5g

102

NOTE: Some of the foods listed also contain carbohydrates and protein – nutrients which add calories (www.thecaloriecounter.com)

Reading Food Labels

Most pre-packaged food in Canada has to have a food label.  Each labels must list the following items:

  • Serving Size – the amount people usually eat (NOT equal to 1 serving of Canada’s Food Guide)
  • Calories
  • % Daily Value – percentage of nutrients 1 serving contributes to a 2,000 calorie diet
    • Done for 13 nutrients (total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, sugar, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron)
      • You want these %DV to be HIGH – fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron
      • You want these %DV to be LOW – saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium
  • Ingredients – listed at the bottom of nutrition labels according to weight from most (listed 1st) to least (listed last)

Food Safety

Fridge & Freezer Storage Chart

Meat & Alternatives

Fridge

Freezer

Beef (steaks & roasts)

2-4 days

10-12 months

Pork (chops & roasts)

2-4 days

8-12 months

Lamb (chops and roasts)

2-4 days

8-12 months

Ground meat

1-2 days

2-3 months

Chicken/Turkey (whole)          

2-3 days

1 year

Chicken/Turkey (pieces)

2-3 days

6 months

Lean fish (e.g. cod & flounder)

3-4 days

6 months

Fatty fish (e.g. salmon)

3-4 days

2 months

Shellfish (e.g. clams, crab, lobster)

12-24 hours

2-4 months

Shrimp, Cooked Shellfish

1-2 days

2-4 months

Cooked ham (half & slices)

3-4 days

2-3 months

Bacon

1 week

1 month

Sausage, raw (pork, beef & turkey)

1-2 days

1-2 months

Lunch meats – sealed

2 weeks

1-2 months

Lunch meats – opened

3-5 days

1-2 months

Fresh eggs – in shell

3-4 weeks

DO NOT FREEZE

Fresh eggs– out of shell

2-4 days

4 months

Hard cooked eggs

1 week

DO NOT FREEZE

Egg substitutes – sealed

10 days

1 year

Egg substitutes – opened

 

3 days

DO NOT FREEZE

Milk & Alternatives

Fridge

Freezer

Milk

check expiry date

6 weeks

Cottage cheese

check expiry date

DO NOT FREEZE

Yogurt

check expiry date

1-2 months

Cheese

 

 

            Soft

1 week

DO NOT FREEZE

            Semi-soft

2-3 weeks

8 weeks

Firm

5 weeks

3 months

Hard

10 months

1 year

Processed – sealed

several months

3 months

Processed – opened

3-4 weeks

DO NOT FREEZE

Butter – salted

8 weeks

1 year

Butter – unsalted

8 weeks

3 months

Commercial mayonnaise

 

2 months

DO NOT FREEZE

Vegetables

Fridge

Freezer

Beans, green or waxed

5 days

8 months

Carrots

2 weeks

10-12 months

Celery

2 weeks

10-12 months

Lettuce, leaf

3-7 days

DO NOT FREEZE

Lettuce, iceberg

1-2 days

DO NOT FREEZE

Spinach

2-4 days

10-12 months

Squash

1-2 weeks

10-12 months

Nutrition On The Go

Staple Foods

Most University students say that time and money are the main barriers to eating healthy. So we’ve put together some recipes that are quick, easy, and inexpensive to make when you're living off campus.  All recipes have been submitted by students which means they’ve been tried, tested, and student approved.  

To make cooking easier, it's also important to have your cupboards stocked with some staple foods:

  • Brown rice - complex carbohydrate full of fiber that can be served under a stir-fry or seasoned up as a side dish to chicken and fish.
  • Whole wheat pasta - complex carbohydrate full of fiber that can be served under pasta sauces and stir-fries.
  • Oatmeal - hearty breakfast that’s easy to grab-and-go.
  • Couscous - grain product that can be served hot or cold.
  • Dried fruit (e.g., cranberries, raisins, apricots) - snack food that can also be added to salads or baking.
  • Low-fat or fat-free popcorn - alternative to chips that low in calories and fat.
  • Unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, peanuts, walnuts) - source of protein & healthy unsaturated fat that can be a great snack or added to salads and baking.
  • Canola and olive oil - source of unsaturated fat that can be used for cooking and baking. Olive oil is also one of the key ingredients to making your own salad dressing. 
  • Non-stick cooking spray - alternative to cooking with oil which gives you lighter and lower-fat dishes.
  • Tuna, packed in water - source of protein which makes for an easy snack (e.g., tuna & crackers) or quick meal (e.g., tuna melts).
  • Salsa - low-fat way to add flavor to foods such as potatoes and eggs or serve it with guacamole and baked chips as a healthier snack.
  • Chickpeas - vegetable protein that’s also high in fiber. Serve it as part of a cold salad, use it in stir-fries, or blend it up to make some hummus.
  • Beans - vegetable protein that can be served cold or hot.
  • Lentils - vegetable protein that can be mixed with rice or tossed into soups.
  • Low-sodium vegetable, chicken, and/or beef broth - base to any homemade soup that can also be used in stir-fries or to add flavor to rice.
  • Tomato sauce - healthy base to any pasta sauce that can also be used in lasagnas and manicottis.
  • Peeled whole or crushed tomatoes - way to add heartiness to any soup, pasta sauce, or chilies.
  • Balsamic vinegar - flavorful ingredient that can be spread over roasted vegetables or homemade salad dressings.
  • Canned fruit (in own juices) - way to make sure you get your daily fruit fix if you can’t buy fresh fruits.
  • Apple sauce - fruit snack that can also be used in baking instead of oil.
  • Nut Butter (e.g., peanut, almond) - source of vegetable protein and unsaturated fat that you can spread over breads or fruits.

Eating for energy

One of the best ways to feel more energetic and avoid feeling sluggish throughout your day is to eat properly.  Here are some tips to keep your metabolism revved up & your blood sugar level constant:

  • Always eat BREAKFAST - it breaks your nighttime fast & jump starts your metabolism  
  • Remember to eat more during the most active part of your day 
  • Instead of having large meals, try to eat 5-6 mini meals per day (approx. 200-500 calories each) every 3-4 hours
  • Pair up foods to maximize your energy:

Fruit or Vegetable - gives you 1 HOUR of energy

Fruit or Vegetable + Complex Carbohydrate - gives you 2 HOURS of energy

Fruit or Vegetable + Complex Carbohydrate + Protein - gives you 3 HOURS of energy

 

Mini Meal Examples

Fruit or Vegetable

Complex Carbohydrate

Protein

1 banana

1 slice ww. bread

1 Tbsp peanut butter

10 grapes

6 ww. crackers

1 1/2 oz. cheese

1 c. spinach

1/2 c. ww. croutons

1 Tbsp slivered almonds

1 carrot

10 pretzels

2 Tbsp hummus

3/4 c. pinapple

1/2 bran muffin

1/2 c. cottage cheese

1 c. strawberries

1/2 c. bran cereal

3/4 c. yogurt

1/2 red pepper

1 ww. english muffin

1/3 can tuna

Eating On a Budget

Grocery shopping tips

  • Plan your meals – take some time to plan out your meals for the week. It’ll encourage you to try out some new recipes and help you save money by not buying foods that you won’t use.
     
  • Make a list – when you’re planning your weekly meals, make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Also keep a shopping list on your fridge so you can write down staple items you run out of during the week.
     
  • Shop once a week – fresh produce will start to expire in about a week, so try to shop for the fresh stuff on a weekly basis to avoid having things go bad.
     
  • Eat before you go – when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to be tempted by foods and make impulse unhealthy purchases.
     
  • Start with produce – fill up your shopping cart or basket with fresh produce (i.e., fruits and vegetables) first since we need about 8-10 servings a day.
     
  • Shop the perimeter – the main food groups (i.e., fruits & vegetables, milk & alternatives, meat & alternatives, and grain products) are located around the perimeter. These foods should be the bulk of your purchases – only head down the aisles to look for specific foods on your shopping list.
     
  • Read food labels – even though one product may seem to better than another based on the food claims it makes, always check labels to see differences. It’s also a good idea to check the expiry date.
Intuitive Eating

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is about becoming more attuned to your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues, and listening to them.

10 principles of Intuitive Eating

Honour your hunger Eat when you’re hungry

Avoid categorizing foods as either “good” or “bad”

Respect your fullness Stop when you’re full

Reject the diet mentality Dieting triggers overeating and ultimately weight gain

Respect your body Accept your body for what it is

Unconditional permission to eat preferred foods Listen to your cravings It takes less to be satisfied

Cope with emotions without using food

Exercise – feel the difference Move your body for health rather than weight loss

Honour your health Eat food that honours health and taste that makes you feel good

Strategies to Become an Intuitive Eater 1. Schedule a time to eat and pay attention to eating 2. Focus on the way food tastes 3. Slow down your eating

Benefits of Intuitive Eating • Healthier relationship with food • Better body acceptance • Higher self-esteem • Improved life satisfaction