Everyone has heard of nutrition – it’s information that’s expected on the back of every food we pick up at the supermarket, and on every menu we eat from. Our nutrition is extremely important when it comes to building a healthy lifestyle and making important changes to our health. But what exactly is it and why is it so important? Let’s find out in this ultimate guide to nutrition.
What is nutrition?
The official definition of nutrition is the act or process of nourishing or being nourished, specifically the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilises food substances. In other words, nutrition is both the process of providing and obtaining the food necessary for health and growth, and the branch of science that deals with nutrients in humans.
In terms of science, the Nutrition Society, alongside the countries’ Ministry of Health and Department of Health, is committed to advancing the study of nutrition and its application. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations, also leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
On a more personal scale, your family might see a professional of clinical nutrition or nutritionist who specialises in child nutrition for one-to-one support and advice. You can also keep track of your nutrition by reading the nutrition label and food labels on your food items, making sure that they fit into your nutrition plan and nutrition strategy so that you can hit your nutrition targets.
What does it take to live a healthy lifestyle?
Living a healthy lifestyle is all about finding the right balance between healthy eating – creating a healthy food environment with a balanced diet and healthy foods – and physical activity. As physical activity denotes the number of calories that leave your body, your recommended caloric intake depends on your diet goals and level of physical activity.
For example, if you want to maintain your weight, a healthy lifestyle will involve doing a light amount of physical activity and keeping a balanced diet. Similarly, if you wish to lose weight, the right balance for you might involve a higher level of physical activity, and/or a balanced diet that leaves you with a calorie deficit.
However, if your diet goals are to put on muscle and build your muscles, then this might involve doing longer and higher-intensity physical activity. In this case, it is important to make sure that you are properly fuelling your body with the right things to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With this in mind, here is some dedicated nutrition advice for the diets mentioned above and more.
Nutrition advice for your goals
Eating a healthy balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health and can have many additional health benefits. This means eating varied healthy foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
According to the NHS, a balanced diet requires you to:
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. This includes vegetable juice, fruit juice, standard servings of vegetables and fresh fruit.
Use higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta.
Include some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya, almond, coconut, or oat milk).
Opt for healthy proteins such as lean meats over fatty meat, meat substitutes, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.
Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and use vegetable oils and olive oil sparingly.
Drink plenty of fluids, at least 6 to 8 glasses a day.
These basic food guidelines can then be adapted and tailored to create a personalised nutrition plan to help you meet your nutrition goal. Here are some examples of how to use these tips to create a nutrition strategy.
When trying to lose weight, you can develop a nutrition plan simply by using your plate as a healthy eating model. A healthy eating plate should observe the following ratios to make sure you get the optimum macronutrient ratio for a balanced meal.
50 percent fruit or salad. The percentage of vegetables should also be 50% of the plate.
25 percent meat or other high-quality protein.
25 percent starchy foods.
Half a tablespoon of foods with a high fat or salt content, or sugary foods. For a low-fat diet, you might cut this down even further.
For a healthy diet when building muscle, you must not just think about your energy intake but the energy output from your energy stores when in the gym. The food that you eat is what you use as a source of energy when working on your muscles, and so you might focus on getting the right endurance performance energy.
As opposed to someone losing weight, people who regularly workout, especially bodybuilders, need to replenish the salt that is lost when sweating. Low sodium levels can cause weakness, fatigue or low energy, headache, nausea, muscle cramps or spasms, confusion, and irritability.
Low sodium in the blood is called hyponatremia, which can be caused simply by dehydration during your workout, or if you have any other health issues such as a sickness bug, kidney or liver disease, underlying heart problems, or if you are taking certain antidepressants or pain medication.
To make sure that your body doesn’t have low blood sodium, it is essential to replace the salt that you have lost through your sweat. You can do this by drinking plenty of water-based drinks and soft drinks, or by making sure to take an electrolyte drink or vegetable juice to the gym with you.
Contrary to popular belief, most vegetarians usually have enough protein and calcium (found in dairy products) in their diet. However, vegans must make sure that they are planning milk alternatives into their diet to get the essential nutrients.
If you do not get protein from meat or fish, then it is also necessary to make sure that you are planning other proteins into your diet, such as meat alternatives (like Quorn), tofu, tempeh, eggs, and vegetable proteins.
Vegetarians also need to consciously include sources of vitamin B12 and iron into their diet, which are both found naturally in animal products. Good sources of iron for vegetarians include eggs, pulses, wholemeal bread, and dark green vegetables. For vitamin B12, try milk, cheese, eggs, or fortified yeast extracts, breakfast cereals, and soya products.
The NHS recommendation for people with special dietary needs or a medical condition is that you should ask your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a clinical nutrition specialist for advice on a nutrition plan to ensure you are getting the right vitamins and minerals.
How can meal prep assist with meeting your nutrition and fitness goals?
Ordering meal prep can assist you with meeting your nutrition, fitness, and diet goals, whether you require healthy meals or even bodybuilding meals. This is because meal prep can contribute to an overall more nutritionally balanced diet.
Meal prep can also assist you with weight control, with pre-prepared healthy meals in carefully measured portions to suit your nutritional needs. It can also help to reduce stress as you don’t have to decide at the last minute what to eat, not to mention quashing the potential for grabbing fast food on your lunch break!
Therefore, meal prep from Diets2Go can allow you to decide meal prep goals which align with your nutrition plan, assisting you with meeting your nutrition, fitness, and diet goals. See below what Diets2Go has to offer for all kinds of nutrition targets.
What Diets2Go has to offer
For weight loss nutrition goals: Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Sweet Potato Wedges
18g protein, 27g carbs, 3g fat, 207kCal
The salt and pepper shrimp is crispy and delicious, with that classic mouth-watering salt and pepper seasoning, without a huge calorie expenditure. Bursting with flavour and a texture to die for, this dish is only 207 calories per portion, and contains only 3 grams of fat.
For building muscle nutrition goals: Tennessee BBQ Mince
35g protein, 41g carbs, 4g fat, 340kCal
Nobody does BBQ like Tennessee… and no one does calorie-controlled BBQ like Diets2Go! Our BBQ mince is succulently seasoned lean steak mince, packed with our secret herbs and spices. Perfectly combined with seasoned crispy Charlotte potatoes, this dish is as smoky and authentic as it is nutritious and delicious – perfect for bodybuilding meal prep.
For vegetarian and vegan nutrition goals: Sweet Potato Falafel and Noodles
9g protein, 67g carbs, 11g fat, 403kCal
Our sweet potato falafel is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fibre and vital minerals to support your gut health and help you to improve your overall health and nutrition from the inside out. It is also delicious – an exquisite blend of earthy flavours, garlic, parsley, and classic rich and satisfying Mediterranean seasonings.
Get in touch with Diets2Go to learn more about our meal options
Just contact us today on 01257 543051 or by emailing INFO@DIETS2GO.CO.UK to find out more about our meal prep delivery service, or see what’s on our tempting menus.
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