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Nutrient Meals Needed Daily

What is a healthy meal?

Foods full of these nutrients:
    • amino acids (protein)
    • vitamins
    • minerals
    • omega-3
    • fiber
    • flavonoids
    • antioxidants
    • phytonutrients

    Many nutrients have a “Daily Value,” which is the recommended amount you should consume daily – see here.

    What is an unhealthy meal?

    Watch out for:
    • added sugar
    • salt
    • bad fats (saturated and trans)
    • preservatives
    • artificial flavorings and colors
    • hidden sugars
    • simple carbs

    Not all calories are equal - and instead focus on nutrient-counting.

    How to manage a day’s meal.

    If you are eating two or three Nutrient meals a day, congratulations. You are consuming most of your nutrients. Then relax. Eat other meals that you love, and try to make them full of nutrients. Check out your daily nutrient requirement.

    Where to get your Nutrients:

    12 Essential Amino Acids (foundation of “protein”)

    • Meat: beef, pork, poultry, seafood
    • Dairy: milk and milk products like yogurt and cheese
    • Plant-based: soy beans, lentils, chick peas, black beans, fava beans, peas, quinoa, buckwheat

    14 Vitamins

    • Fruits
      • Each serving has only one or two of a vitamin, so eat a variety to get them all
      • Portions matter: fruit naturally contains sugar, so enjoy up to 2-3 serving a day.
    • Vegetables
      • Enjoy vegetables often, you can’t eat enough of all green vegetables, carrots, beets, egg plant, tomatoes
      • Its estimated that you need to eat 10 different vegetables each day to get your micronutrients. That’s a lot! But with only two to three Nutrient meals a day, you’ll nearly get them all and are free to enjoy your vegetables stress free.
    • Salad
      • creamy salad dressings are nutrient-poor – full of empty calories

    12 Minerals (two – sodium and chloride, we get too much already)

    • Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazel nuts, cashews, and Brazil.
    • Seeds: Flax, pumpkin, and sunflower.
    • Whole grains: Wheat, oats, rye, barley, and bulgur.
    • Protein-rich foods: Meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.

    Omega-3 (healthy fat)

    • Fish, particularly salmon.
    • All fish and seafood like shrimp, scallops, and mussels.
    • Vegetable oils, especially flax seed, canola, and soy oils.
    • Don’t worry about the other healthy fat, omega-6, because we get too much anyway. Omega-6 comes from oils used in processed foods like cottonseed oil and vegetable oil blends; and corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.
    • Omega-9 fat is not essential, as the body produces it and we generally get enough.


    • In carbohydrate-containing foods that supply energy, and often contain B vitamins.
    • 100% whole grains used in breads, pastas, and cereals.
    • Ancient grains like barley, freekeh, buckwheat, quinoa, kamut, and oat groats.
    • Whole fruits (not as juice) and vegetables.


    • Water is nature’s gift to humans, and constitutes 65% of our body, so we need to stay hydrated.
    • The best beverages have the fewest calories.
    • Wine: flavonoids are in red wine are healthy (one glass provides enough; more, and the alcohol in the wine negates the benefit).
    • Limit juice consumption; get the same nutrients by eating fruit.

    Things to avoid

    Simple carbs: are refined whole grains and table sugar

    • Found in white bread, white flour, and foods baked with white flour.
    • Found in any food with added sugar (e.g., baked goods, ice cream, sugary beverages, candy).

    Trans fats: are synthetic fats found in processed and fast foods

    • Found in fewer foods today; slowly being taken out of the food supply because of their negative health effects.
    • Mostly found in baked goods and fried foods. Look at the food label for trans fats or hydrogenated oil.
    • Saturated fats
    • Found only in animal products like meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.
    • Fat-free dairy products like yogurts and milk have no saturated fats.

    Nutrient-poor, calorie-rich food choices

    • Carbonated sweetened beverages.
    • Sugary coffee drinks.
    • Alcohol, full of empty calories and wreaks havoc on brain cells.
    • All deep-fried foods like French fries, chicken, and fish; and meals smothered in heavy cream based gravies or mayonnaise (like meat loaf and gravy, a tuna fish sandwich, or potato salad).

    Fast foods

    • A way of life in America; approaching 40% of our diet. What's unhealthy: the processing, preservatives, and the extras (refined grains in the buns, fried meats, creamy salad dressing, sugary drinks).

    Foods Americans love

    • Has a ton of protein from the cheese and other meat toppings like pepperoni, but these are full of saturated fats. Also, it provides sugar and salt in the crust and tomato sauce. Sprinkling a few vegetables on top improves the nutrient count. If pizza is part of your life make sure you eat other foods from our Nutrient meals (two or three), so you know you at least give your body the good stuff.
    • Typically does not have added nutrients and is rich in sugar, so check out both on the label.
    Instant oats with added sugar
    • Nutrients are generally missing.
    Cold cereals
    • Cold cereals have added nutrients, but are often full of sugar, so check the label for sugar content.
    Mac and Cheese
    • Typically contains refined carbohydrates and is rich in sodium.
    Ramen Noodles
    • Mainly refined carbohydrates, just empty calories.