Understanding Nutrition - It’s More Than Just Nutrients21.05.20
It stirs the soul unlike anything else. It creates stories that stay with us for a lifetime. Many of our happiest times, funniest conversations and memorable moments come from food. Whether eaten alone or shared with loved ones, food is a central part of our lives.
But why does the food we eat play such an important part in these memories?
Is it because your meal had a high protein content or an adequate amount of carbohydrates? I very much doubt that!
Or is it because it looked enticing on the eye, capturing your attention with vibrant colours?
Is it the smell? The aromas infiltrating your mind, creating the atmosphere for the meal.
What about the taste? You remember the texture of each ingredient as it touches your tongue, stimulating every sense.
As we move well into 2020, we can acknowledge two things.
- Our lives are challenging. Challenges that you experience many times a day. You know. That last-minute work travel, endless overtime, tackling the daily commute. Combine this with the rigours of balancing life and our health can often be the one to suffer.
- We are becoming aware of the role that food plays in living an all-round healthy lifestyle. Through the increased availability of information across the internet, as well as social media and television, we now have access to an infinite amount of health information.
So, with all this information, why don’t we all live at the peak of physical and mental health?
You see, understanding nutrition is more than knowing what is in your food. If like many of us, long-term health is the goal, we have to take a broader approach to how we see food.
Understand how food functions
On a functional level, without food and water, we wouldn’t exist.
From plants to herbs, meat to fish, beans to spices. Food in all its forms provides us with everything we need to perform at our best; no matter how demanding our lives get.
The decisions we make, the energy we put into daily tasks, how well we sleep, to our levels of activity. These are ALL dictated to by what we eat on a daily basis.
Let’s have a look at what makes up the food that you eat and their benefits.
Starting with macronutrients
Macronutrients are categorised into three main nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
They are the major nutrients which make up all food that we eat. They play a role in everything that we do and will directly influence the following.
- Cell function and structure
- Growth, repair and function of muscles
- Skin, hair, nail and bone health
- A source of energy
- Sleep quality
Protein heavy foods come predominantly from animal and fish sources such as chicken, beef, salmon and tuna. But, there is also a wide range of plant-based protein sources that are easily available. Plant-based protein sources generally contain more carbohydrates over their animal alternatives. Protein can also be supplemented.
Here are some of the most common protein sources:
- Protein shakes (Whey/Vegan Protein)
Let’s be honest, fat has got a bad rap over the last decade. It has been villainised as the cause of obesity. So much so that I would guess that most of you would automatically assume that ‘fat makes you fat’.
Although this is categorically untrue, there are considerations to make on how much fat to eat. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Compare this to the 4 calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates and you can then see how the indulgence of fat can easily lead to an overconsumption of calories.
The bottom line is that your body needs fat to function. They are essential for cell growth, organ protection as well as insulation! It also helps your body absorb nutrients from other foods.
There are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat:
Foods containing high amounts of dietary fat.
- Dairy (milk, butter, cream, cheese, yoghurt)
Carbohydrates are used as the body’s main fuel source. It gives us the drive to train hard and endure long days. They come in two main forms. Simple carbohydrates (sugar), and complex carbohydrates (starches and fibre). The body breaks down most sugars and starches into glucose, an energy source that the body can use to feed its cells.
Although carbohydrates play a vital role in energy production, they are not essential. This means we do not need large quantities of them to survive or function normally.
Foods containing high amounts of carbohydrates
- Starchy Vegetables
- Green Vegetables
- Processed foods (chocolate, ice cream, sweets, fizzy drinks, juices)
Within our macronutrient dense foods, we have a broad spectrum of micronutrients.
These are all your vitamins and minerals.
Each food will contain different micronutrients in differing amounts. You would have come across the concept of varying food sources. Well, this is why it is encouraged.
To get the right number of vitamins and minerals for health. A broad variety of protein, carbs, and fats should be eaten so you get the correct amount of micronutrients.
Nails, hair, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons need micronutrients to be healthy.
Want to think positive and look fantastic? Eat foods which are rich in micronutrients.
The sensory experience of food
If fulfilling our macro and micronutrient requirements daily were all that was required to be happy, we would all be eating bland, plain food.
Yet, the piece often missing from creating long-term health is the need to satisfy the senses.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we have all experienced at least one incredible culinary experience in our lives. Recall the visual look of the food, the smell, taste, and texture as you worked your way through each mouthful.
Do those sensory experiences make you salivate? They do for me.
With this being said, when we are looking to eat with health and longevity in mind, the sensory experience MUST be considered.
The look of the food (is it colourful?), the texture (crunchy or softer), the smells (does it excite you?), and the taste (Is it seasoned?). All these will play a part in enjoying food.
Imagine if you didn’t have to wait for a trip to the restaurant to fulfil your sensory need for good food. If you had great looking, incredible tasting food that ticks all of the functional and sensory boxes.
Do you think you would be able to?
- a) Be more consistent with your nutrition
- b) Achieve improved levels of health quicker and for longer?
I know the answer to these questions – absolutely.
Want to tick those boxes right away but don’t know how? Engaging in a good meal prep service could be your answer.
How a meal prep delivery service fits in
When it comes to great meal prep, we understand the need for good looking and tasting food. Gone are the days of plain and boring chicken and broccoli. At KBK, for example, we know that this is not good for long-term health or satisfaction.
Any good meal prep company will passionately pursue health in every meal. From your first meal of the day through to the last, each mouthful should excite your taste buds. A meal should entice your visual senses and smell as good as any food that you eat at a top-quality restaurant.
Good quality meal prep can certainly speed up your journey to better health. As I mentioned, if you lack an understanding of how to eat a variety of foods containing everything you need, but want to start eating better today, meal prep is the easiest option.
Use sense and function for lifelong health.
When you are looking to create the foundations for a life of health, food will be the cornerstone for any and all progress. It dictates your decision-making process and gives you the motivation to live more healthily. It shapes your sleep, your physique and your outlook on life.
Imagine if every meal was full of great ingredients. Ingredients which give you everything you need to function at your very best but also provides a sensory experience that was once only reserved for restaurant dining.
Purchasing a meal prep package could be a great way to fast track your health and understanding of food. But if you choose to go it alone, consider following these foundations:
- Make sure that your meals have a good balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates (including vegetables) *
- Add more variety into your weekly food choices. This will ensure you get the right amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
- Ensure you consider the sensory element of food. Does it look, smell, and taste good? Grab a cookbook and go bananas.
What do you consider when building your daily nutrition? Drop us a comment and let us help you achieve your healthiest 2020 possible!
*Macronutrient targets and amounts are goal and lifestyle dependant.