Welcome back! We hope you were able to start logging meals in the app and were able to check out the Brook Healthy Plate, our guide to building balanced meals. Building meals that include protein, healthy fats, and carbs with fiber will help keep you feeling fuller longer. When you work through Block 1: Eating the Foods You Love, you will have the tools for making healthy choices while still being able to enjoy foods you love to eat.
We learned about how to build a healthy plate, so let’s begin digging into our nutrient groups. There are five major types:
To being, let’s dig into the sometimes villainized carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates give us energy. There are three main types: sugars, starches, and fiber.
Apart from providing a short term energy boost from calories, sugar has no nutrient value. It is just “extra” in the body that can lead to weight gain and cavities and increases the risk for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Reducing your intake of sugars is definitely a positive thing you can do to cut back your calories and lose weight.
Sugars include both those that are naturally occurring and those that are added. Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruit, yogurt, and milk. Foods high in naturally occurring sugars usually also have many other beneficial nutrients, so these foods are usually healthier choices than foods with added sugars.
Starchy foods are the starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams, corn, and green peas, as well as bread and bread products like rolls, waffles, pancakes, muffins, hot and cold cereals, rice, oats, and barley, noodles and pasta, and flour or anything made with or from it. When you choose breads and grains, aim for whole wheat and whole grain. And when you eat potatoes or fruit, eat the skin too. This will make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs.
White grains and refined starches are low in nutrition and often high in calories. These foods include white rice, white pasta and noodles, white bread, crackers and pretzels, snack chips, and french fries. White and refined starches are also low in fiber, so they can leave us still feeling hungry after we eat them and we often end up eating much more than we need. They often include added sugars which we also don’t need.
Fiber is sometimes called the “good” carbohydrate. Foods that are high in fiber may help you feel full longer, support healthy digestion, keep you regular, and help your cholesterol stay under control. Getting more of your carbs from foods rich in fiber rather than sugars and low fiber starches may even help you lose weight
Fiber rich foods include any fruits, especially berries, like raspberries and blueberries. Non-starchy vegetables, especially dark-skinned vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, beets, and zucchini, starchy vegetables like the potatoes, yams, corn, and green peas like we talked about earlier, legumes, like lentils and peas, and most beans, like navy or white beans, and red, black, kidney, and pinto beans are also good sources of fiber.
So are wheat and multi-grain versions of foods also good sources of fiber? Usually not. Look for foods labeled “whole grain” instead. Oats, brown or wild rice, quinoa, and barley are all good sources of whole grains. 100% whole wheat bread and brown rice can have four times as much fiber and more vitamins than white bread and white rice.
The average adult should consume 25-30 grams of fiber per day or 14 grams of fiber per every 1000 calories consumed. But most Americans only get about half of that. Regardless of how you increase your fiber intake, be sure to do so gradually because your body needs time to adjust. Also, you need to drink more water than you normally would to help avoid constipation or an upset stomach.
on May 29, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.