While it’s tempting to streamline your nutrition routine into a simple list of “go to” foods to eat daily, the nutrient exclusion created in doing so can be detrimental from a whole-body perspective.
The human body depends on nutrition variance to meet its complex micro and macronutrient needs. Although the human body is capable of functioning on a narrow set of foods, it functions at its best when your nutritional routine allows for variety.
Many people also do better sticking to a plan when their plan allows for variety. Variety can help prevent boredom and correspondingly low commitment.
If you’re adamant that this will be the year you stick to your resolutions once and for all, focus on incorporating foods from these five groups into your daily routine.
Pre- and Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods like Greek yogurt have received a good amount of attention in recent years, but they work best when you’re also consuming prebiotic foods. Probiotic foods are typically fermented or cultured (think yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut), whereas prebiotics are found in high fiber products like apples, onion, and garlic. Prebiotics act as fuel for probiotics, allowing them to work at their highest capacity.
Fruits and Veggies
While this category of foods may seem like an obvious inclusion, only 10% of American adults consume enough fruits and vegetables each day. And when we do consume them, we tend to pick the least healthy choices: fruit juices, potatoes, corn, and other starchy vegetables. Aim to consume fresh, whole fruits and vegetables at each meal. The fiber and water content aids satiety and promotes blood sugar management.
Steer clear of fatty cuts of meat like ribs, bacon, sausage, wings, and brisket and focus on lean cuts of chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and fish. Lean protein provides the essential amino acids crucial to muscle development and muscle retention in weight loss.
While ketogenic diets and other high fat plans don’t discriminate between fat types, you should always focus your consumption on mono and polyunsaturated fats from foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, fatty fish, olives, and canola oil. These foods all boast antiinflammatory properties, whereas saturated and trans fats tend to promote inflammation.
Low-Fat and Nonfat Dairy
Dairy products may get a bum rap, but low-fat and nonfat dairy products are high in calcium, Vitamin D, and protein. Vitamin D deficiency is especially common in wintertime. When coupled with low calcium intake, low Vitamin D consumption increases the risk for low bone density, fracture, or breaks. Vitamin D also plays an essential role in fortifying the immune system.