Coach G’s Nutrition Corner: Variety, the spice of life. Part 1 of 3!!!
By: Garrett Rolsma
Variety, the spice of life. Part 1 of 3!!!
How often do you find yourself eating the same meals day in and day out? Maybe it is the same restaurant every Sunday for brunch, or maybe it is the same morning smoothie. If you cannot remember the last time you switched up your nutrition, it is time. To make things easier, I am going to talk about the big macronutrients and why variety and change is going to be important for your lifelong goals of healthy nutrition. Here we go…
If you are a meat eater, how often do you reach for different sources? If you consume a lot of red meats, then you could potentially benefit from trying leaner poultry or fish sources. Red meat is higher in saturated fats and if consumed on a regular basis, could become an issue on your next blood panel. Red meat also packs a serious dose of iron, a very important essential mineral that supports our blood health. Athletes and specifically women will benefit from sufficient amounts of iron as it helps with our bodies ability to bind oxygen to red blood cells. Without enough iron, our bodies can struggle to transport enough oxygen to energize a demanding lifestyle. So again, red meat in moderation could be something you need as part of your constantly changing nutritional plan. If you already avoid red meats and you eat a lot of seafood, then be aware of higher mercury levels and believe it or not, plastics. If you are a carnivore, try to vary your sources throughout your week.
What about vegetarians? Variety is nice for you too. Beans such as black, white, pinto, kidney, etc. are packed with protein to meet your needs. Grains and seeds like quinoa, hemp, chia, flax, etc. can be sprinkled onto anything to boost the protein. Nuts and nut butters are literally lining the shelves at your local grocery store. Try out different nut butters to fine tune your plan, but remember peanut butter does not really count. Lastly, foods such as edamame, tempeh, or tofu are other alternatives to animal based proteins. These alternatives can be added to a dish just like meat. Try tofu in stir-fry, or tempeh on the grill.
Another big source of protein for people is supplementation. Anyone trying to lose weight and/or build muscle has probably been told at some point that they need a protein shake in their day. Keep your supplements on a cycle. Do some research and find 3 to 4 protein brands that you like, then vary them every month. No protein powder is the same, they come from cows raised on different feeds/grasses and they grow in different regions of the world. No matter where your protein is coming from, keep your body guessing by varying it up.