Habits for Proper Nutrition Tip 4 of 5 – (Eat Some Carbohydrate Dense Foods with Most Meals, Especially After Exercise)
The old USDA Food Pyramid recommended 50-55% of calories to come from carbohydrates, for everyone. Then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s the Atkins and South Beach diets told everyone to eat little to near zero carbohydrates. Today the nutrition world is aflame with the idea of eating “Paleo,” which recommends you eschew all grains, among a few other foods. If you ask me, the truth, as usual, tends to lie somewhere in the middle.
The specific amount of carbohydrates you should eat really depends on your body size, body type and physical needs. But the fact of the matter is that if most people just ate a reasonable amount of carbs at most meals, and had a good chunk of their carbs AFTER exercise, they would probably come pretty close to meeting those specific needs, without counting a gram, factoring a percentage or even worrying about their body type.
By consuming some carbs at each meal, it tends to make meals more satisfying and more consistent. You don’t have to worry so much about having carbs at this time but not that time. At this meal, but not that meal. You can make consistently similar meals that will meet your needs, satisfy your appetite, taste great and provide lots of fiber and phytonutrients from fruits, whole grains and other starches.
I do recommend that the majority of your carbohydrates come from whole, minimally processed carbohydrate sources. And it is ok to have some carb free meals, such as a salad for example. Just make sure you aren’t keeping your carb intake too low for or activity levels. The more active you are the more carbs you need to fuel and recover from that activity.
And by especially making sure to have some carbohydrates after you exercise, you will do a much better job of recovering from that exercise, refilling your energy stores and keeping your hormones humming along nicely.
To ensure you are eating reasonable amounts, here is what I recommend:
- Women should aim for 1 cupped handful of carbohydrate dense foods with most meals
- Men should aim for 2 cupped handfuls of carbohydrate dense foods with most meals.
Note that this habit in particular can be variable. Some people do better with less carbs at each meal and some do better with more carbs. I will get into the specifics of this later. But for now, if you just stick with these basic recommendations it should be a great start.
With an intake at these levels, this is neither a low-carbohydrate diet, nor a high-carbohydrate diet. Rather, it is a controlled-carbohydrate diet. It is enough to meet your needs, but no so little that it hurts your performance, or so much that it leads to fat gain.
FITNESS with DAISY
FWD & Associates LLC