Nutrition Basics

#1 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Jump starts the metabolism and gives you energy to start the day. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and other meals tend to accumulate more body fat.

#2 Drink MORE water! We need 6-8 glasses of water daily. Water aids with many body functions but 1 out of 2 Americans is dehydrated. Drink whether you feel thirty or not.

#3 Watch portions and serving sizes. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal or snack. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink such as 1 slice of bread or one cup of milk.

#4 Shop smart – Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. You will end up buying things you don’t need. Help your bank account and your body and shop on a full stomach. Plan ahead and take a list of the things you need, when you get there shop around the perimeter of the store where less “junk” is found.


Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed large amounts. There are three macronutrients:
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein           
  • Fat
Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
Protein provides 4 calories per gram
Fat provides 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrates are needed for 45%-65% or our calories. They are needed for many reasons:
  • Body’s main source of fuel
  • Needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles, to function properly
  • Important in intestinal health and waste elimination
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy
  • Stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy
Proteins are needed for 10%-35% of our calories. We need protein for:
  • Growth
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
  • Preserving lean muscle mass
Fats are needed for 20%-35% of our calories. We need this amount for:
  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy
  • Absorbing certain vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintain cell membranes


Although macronutrients are important we also need water and micronutrients.
These are only needed in small amounts, and are essential for the proper functioning of every system in the body and are vital for good health.
There are two classes of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in bodily function.
The Micronutrients and where to find them:
  • Vitamin A - Milk, cheese, eggs (yolk), orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin B - Legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin C - Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberry, parsley, cabbage
  • Vitamin D - Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberry, parsley, cabbage
  • Vitamin E - Olives and olive oil, avocado, wholegrain cereals
  • Iron - Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, and legumes
  • Calcium - Dairy products, almonds, tahini, green leafy vegetables
  • Magnesium - Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables
  • Zinc - Lean meat, chicken, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Selenium - Brazil nuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, oats

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