Have you heard about how essential it is to pair your workouts with healthy nutrition to get the best results but have certainly no idea what the right nutrients to include in your fitness meal plan are?
Well, not to worry. You are most certainly not alone; a lot of people have fitness plans but have certainly no idea how to go about it. In this post, we bring you the must-have nutrients in a fitness meal plan, their benefits, and several examples but, before we delve into it, let’s take a quick look at what nutrient means so you can understand better the purpose of the must-have nutrient to include in your fitness meal nutrition.
What Are Nutrients?
Nutrients are essential compounds to life and health; they are responsible for providing our body system with good health, repairing worn out tissues, bones and regulating the chemical process going on in our body. There are seven major forms of nutrients, but, below we will take a look at the must-have nutrients in a fitness meal plan to maintain healthy nutrition.
Most people do not know this, but carbohydrates are very important and must be included in your fitness meal plan. They are the main source of energy and aids digestion. To avoid taking them is just going to mess with your whole food plan. The energy provided by this nutrient is important to complement your exercise; hence, what you have to understand before excluding them completely or including them randomly in your fitness meal plan is that there are healthy and unhealthy carbs, and you should be able to differentiate them from one another.
Healthy carbs are unprocessed carbs full of fiber such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers, legumes, i.e., wheat, oats, brown rice, potatoes, etc., that take longer to be broken down, providing the body with more energy. Unhealthy carbs, on the other hand, are mostly processed carbs with low fiber and added sugar, i.e., cereal, pasta, bread, sweetened yogurt, white rice, etc.
It is no longer news that during exercise, our muscles go through a lot of strain and contractions. Protein is, therefore, a good nutrient to add to your fitness nutrition plan to help you maintain and repair tissues, i.e., muscles. Protein is also the major building block of all muscle tissue and serves as a source of energy aside from carbohydrates. This, therefore, makes them essential to add to your fitness meal plan for healthy nutrition. Good and good examples of proteins are beans, seafood, and dairy products, i.e., milk, eggs, etc.
Either it is a fitness meal plan or any other meal plan, water is an essential nutrient needed to stay hydrated, and that is why it must always be on a fitness meal plan because, during the span of exercise, dehydration occurs since you are using up your energy and sweating. Hence, ensure that water is always available in your fitness meal plan to grant you good hydration. Besides, water is an important nutrient in our diet that aids digestion regulates body temperature, and also transports nutrients such as glucose, minerals, etc.
This is another class of nutrients that must be included in a meal plan. They have a major function of aiding blood formation and energy production. Our body consists of 14 types of vitamins divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble. Examples of natural (fat-soluble) vitamins found in food include vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Consuming high soluble fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, etc. is a great dose of getting these vitamins, which may prevent constipation, body cholesterol, and aid weight loss. However, there are supplements for vitamins if you do feel like you are not taking enough vitamins through your meals. Examples of natural vitamins are oat, brown rice, barley, apples, blueberries, lentils, etc. Examples of supplements, however, include vitamin B3 (folic acid.), Riboflavin (B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, etc.
Adding minerals to your fitness meal plan helps to strengthen your bones and muscles. They are also responsible for controlling body fluids and turning the food you eat into energy. Several essential minerals can help to improve your bones and power your exercise, such as iron and calcium, which can be found in meat, cereals, fruits and vegetables, milk, egg, nuts, etc. Somehow, vitamins are similar to minerals when it comes to supplements. There are several supplements of minerals, too; hence, you can always get more if you feel the amount you take through your everyday meal isn’t enough. Some mineral supplements include iron, magnesium, zinc, etc.
To maintain effective and healthy nutrition, your meal should contain a healthy dose of minerals because a mineral deficiency may diminish or damage your optimal health.
I know you are wondering. Why should I take more fats when I’m trying so hard to shed them?
The reason is thus, contrary to popular opinions, fats are very healthy, and you need them in your system, just in appropriate amounts. I mentioned above that some vitamins such as vitamin A and D, amongst others, are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed into the body with the help of fats; otherwise, they are rendered useless. Hence, if you avoid fats totally because you see them as an enemy, that signifies that some of the other nutrients you take won’t be effective and will make your nutrition unhealthy.
Fats are also very important in our diets because they are responsible for the production of some hormones, aid cell growth, protect your organs, help in absorbing some nutrients as stated above and also supply you with energy to fuel your workouts. So, avoiding them totally won’t do much good to your health, same as taking too much of it. It has to be the right balance. Examples of healthy fats to take are nuts, avocados, olive and olives oil, etc. When planning your fitness meal, ensure that every nutrient above is included. Remember, the right amount is just about right.