Monday, 23 April 2012

The final list

I feel like I'm playing that shopping memory game we used to play at kids parties, where you go round the group and have to remember the shopping list the person before you listed and add one item to the list yourself!

Still we're very almost there with my daily food checklist so I'm going to finish it off today with the last two items.

Remember this isn't a comprehensive list of everything you should eat - instead it's the minimum you should aim to have daily to get the nutrients you need - then you can add any other food you need or want on top.

The final two items on the list are protein and fats. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks for all proteins in the body, whilst fats are a key component in the cell wall of every cell, so both are essential for the body.

So how much do you need?
Well for protein you're looking to have a minimum of a portion of lean protein the size of a deck of cards with each main meal, but if you're working out a lot or trying to gain muscle mass you could have double, plus half to 1 deck of cards worth with 2 snacks.

This guide amount applies to all animal sources - skinless poultry, less than 5 percent fat beef mince, lean game meats, eggs (have only 1 yolk per portion) seafood and fish as well as tofu, seitan and tempeh. If you're having pulses as your protein source in a meal you need to double the volume and eat some wholegrains on the same day, which you should be doing anyway, to make a complete protein. You can also use a scoop of protein powder as a protein source in a meal or snack, which I do regularly, whey is a good source but if you're vegan or fully dairy intolerant (rather than just lactose intolerant) like myself
then use rice or pea or soya protein instead.

You can kill two birds with one stone by having oily fish as your source of protein three times a week for healthy fats. I generally only eat fish once a week, so take a fish oil supplement daily.

For a daily habit have 2 tablespoons of raw unsalted nuts or seeds, either on your breakfast cereal, mixed into a salad or as a snack. Ground flax seeds are also a great source, add to soups or smoothies or have 1 tbsp flax oil over a salad.

So here's the final list:
- 1.5litres water
- 5 portions of veggies and 2 fruit (1 red, 1 orange, 1 leafy green, 1 cruciferous and 1 of onion or garlic)
- a daily portion of pulses
- two portions of wholegrains
- 2 tbsps raw unsalted nuts/seeds
- three portions of healthy protein per day (including 3 portions of oily fish per week) or a good fish supplement daily
.. and a partridge in a pear tree (only joking)!

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