Health and Wellness

Understanding the Main Food Groups

6:47 PM


It is important to understand how the main food groups work and why some are better for us than others. When you become a mother, it is more important than ever to understand what a healthy, balanced diet consists of as you are now feeding your children as well as yourself. Here, we run through the main pros and cons of each food group to help you to better understand them.


Protein
Proteins help to strengthen and repair systems in our bodies. Meat, fish, eggs and pulses are the main protein-rich foods. Pulses are a good alternative to meat as they contain less fat and more fiber. Be careful to avoid processed meats and choose white over red meat as it is leaner. Fish is a particularly good source of vitamins and minerals too so try to have at least two portions of fish each week. Protein rich food is favored by those trying to build muscle for example, these sugar free bodybuilding snacks due to its reparatory qualities.

Fats
Fat contains fatty acids which we need because it absorbs vitamins A, D and E but we only need it in small amounts. Fat contains a lot of energy and therefore can contribute towards obesity. Fat also produces cholesterol which can give us heart problems. Fat is most often found in high-fat content meats such as sausages, cheese, confectionery, biscuits and cakes. Swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats where possible as they do not produce as much cholesterol.

Sugars
Sugar is mainly added to food as an extra component to make it taste nicer. However, sugar has been proven to cause tooth decay and when it is consumed in large quantities can cause obesity as it is a very high-energy substance. The main vehicles for sugar are confectionery, soft drinks, biscuits, cakes, and heavily flavored foods.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy in our diets, especially as they break down over a longer period of time therefore releasing energy throughout the day. However, they should be eaten in moderation as, if not utilized, they will turn into body fat. We get a lot of fiber from carbohydrates; particularly wholegrain varieties so stick to these where possible. We also get Calcium and Vitamin B so it is an important part of our diets.

DairyDairy foods are the most Calcium-rich foods in our diet, so they are very important to help with bone growth and strength. Dairy products mainly derive from milk, the main examples being cheese, cream, and yoghurt. They’re also a good source of protein but they are high in fat so should be eaten in moderation. You can get reduced fat options but be careful as the fat has often been replaced by sugar.

Fruit & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables should be eaten in large quantities; at least 5 portions every day. They are full of nutrients; minerals, vitamins and fiber which are all really good for us. However, some fruits are high in natural sugars so be careful not to go overboard on things like smoothies.

Hopefully you will now be better equipped to maintain a healthy, balanced diet for yourself and your children. Focus on fruit, vegetables and high fiber carbohydrates with smaller amounts of dairy products and minimal amounts of fats and sugars. For more parenting advice, take a look at everymomspage.com .

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