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January 4, 2008

A Food Plan to Energize Your Plate


Photo Credit: Kate Powers/Getty Image

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Your plate should contain: 60% carbs, 25% protein, 15% fat.
You burn through the nutrients in your food slowly.
Your challenge: Glucose from carbs doesn’t get released into your body quickly enough, so your body doesn’t have easily available energy.
The fix: Get more foods with higher ratios of carbs, since protein and fat slow oxidation and energy production even further.
Eat leaner meats; fattier proteins slow down the rate at which you convert nutrients to energy, which is what you’re already doing too slowly.
You’re good at processing carbs, but you still want to avoid simple carbs, such as processed food, in favor of whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

Your Ideal Day
Breakfast: Mixed berries with nonfat yogurt
Lunch: Tuna salad with low-calorie mayo; 1 slice whole grain or sprouted-grain toast (Ezekiel bread)
Snack: 1 apple with 1tablespoon natural peanut butter
Dinner: Apple and horseradish-glazed salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts, wild rice

Your plate should contain: 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat.
Your challenge: You need foods that have equal quantities of protein, fat and carbs in order to optimally process, produce, and use the energy from food.
The fix: Eat a wide range of foods.
Don’t eat excessive amounts of fat, but don’t specifically reduce your fat intake.
Don’t eat meals made of just one nutrient group (e.g. just carbs, just protein).
Balance the type of proteins you get, mixing fattier proteins, such as organ meats and sardines, with low-fat proteins, such as chicken breast, sole, and low-fat yogurt.

Your Ideal Day
Breakfast: Oatmeal, scrambled egg whites
Lunch: White bean salad with tuna and green beans
Snack: 10 raw almonds, banana
Dinner: Apricot-glazed chicken

Your plate should contain: 20% carbs, 50% protein, 30% fat.
You burn through the nutrients in your food very quickly.
Your challenge: The more carbs you eat, the more energy is available to your body right away, and the greater the chance it will not be needed and will get stored as fat. That means foods high in carbs also cause fatigue and carb cravings.
The fix: Foods with more proteins and fats slow down your rate of oxidation and promote stable blood sugar and sustained energy.
Make sure there’s protein in everything you eat, including snacks; don’t eat a meal that’s predominantly carbs.
Don’t drink too much caffeine: it speeds the rate of oxidation, which is the exact opposite of what you want your nutrients to do.

Your Ideal Day
Breakfast: Mushroom and bell pepper omelet with fontina cheese
Lunch: Grilled steak and veggie salad
Snack: 20 raw almonds
Dinner: Poached dill salmon and garlic broccoli

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