Carbohydrates and proteins are macronutrients your body needs in large quantities; they provide the sugars and amino acids to your cells for energy, repair and growth. Protein-rich foods also supply you with fats, the other macronutrient necessary for cellular functions. Your daily food intake should be about 55 to 65 percent from carbs, 20 to 25 percent from protein and 25 to 35 percent from fat, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Spaghetti Noodles and White Rice
Cooked spaghetti noodles are digested much more slowly compared to steamed, long-grain white rice. One cup of the noodles has a glycemic index or GI of 41 compared to 1 cup of rice with a GI of 109; the GI of a carbohydrate is a measure of how fast it raises your blood sugar. Eat low-GI foods throughout the day except immediately after an intense exercise session. High-GI foods, such as white rice, are the perfect carbohydrates for post-workout meals because the increased insulin production enhances your muscle cell’s capacity to replenish the energy you used during your workout. A cup of noodles has 197 calories and 40 g of carbs. A cup of white rice has 205 calories and 45 g of carbs.
Chicken Breast and Beef Top Sirloin
Animal-based foods, such as chicken breast and beef top sirloin, have high quality protein. These sources of protein contain all eight essential amino acids; your body cannot make the essential amino acids so you must get them from the foods you eat. A 3 oz. serving of baked chicken breast has 140 calories, 27 g of protein, 3.5 g of fat and 63 mg of cholesterol. A 3 oz. serving of broiled beef top sirloin has 162 calories, 26 g of protein, almost 6 g of fat and 112 mg of cholesterol. Opt for chicken breast more often than sirloin, reducing your cholesterol intake; if you are hypersensitive to cholesterol, the more cholesterol you eat, the greater your risk of developing high blood cholesterol, according to a 2007 article by registered dietician Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., published in the “Health & Fitness Journal.”
Salmon and Sardines
The fat in seafood, especially in salmon and sardines, is healthy for you compared to the fat in chicken and beef. Salmon and sardines have primarily omega-3 polyunsaturated fat with very little saturated fat. Omega-3 fatty acids boost your good or HDL cholesterol and decrease your triglycerides or blood fat, advises Dr. Brill. Three ounces of broiled Atlantic salmon has 175 calories, 19 g of protein, 10.5 g of fat and only 54 mg of cholesterol. A 3 oz. serving of canned sardines in tomato sauce has 210 calories, 15 g of protein, 17 g of fat and no cholesterol.
- “Personal Trainer Manual”; American Council on Exercise; 1997
- “Exercise Physiology, Energy, Nutrition & Human Performance”; William McArdle, Frank Katch and Victor Katch; 2007
- “ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal”; Eat Like You’re in Crete: Teach Your Clients the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet; Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D.; September/October 2007
- “The NutriBase Complete Book of Food Counts”; NutriBase; 2001