GFGL TRAVEL BLOG: Understanding the Food Plate While Traveling

I grew up an athlete. Fortunately, I had parents who understood what an athlete’s body needed: a lot of carbohydrates and protein among the normal daily amounts of the rest of the (what was then the food pyramid) food plate.

I never understood why I needed so much of each food group to function, but I never asked questions because I never knew otherwise. As far as I knew, it was my fuel and it all kept me energized.

I was also fortunate enough to never have to feel empty on nutrients while trying to compete. It wasn’t until I moved to Spain that I really felt the effects of not eating the proper amount protein, fruits and vegetables, etc.

I have had plenty of carbohydrates while in Spain, but it’s hard to find protein as a vegetarian. A vegetarian in Europe is tough. They are meat lovers. Up until the death of Franco, Spain’s long time ruling dictator, there were no vegetarian restaurants in Spain. Franco did not condone such a diet. When Franco died in 1975, restaurants finally started to offer vegetarian dishes and vegetarian benefits were allowed to be discussed.

But all this being said, you still shouldn’t be surprised when your vegetarian meal comes with meat. Some places will think that even though you are a vegetarian, you will still eat fish.

Unfortunately, my kitchen was not much of a kitchen and I resorted to a lot of “healthy” microwavable meals and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I quickly lost all of my energy to work out and started feeling the effects of not eating a full plate. My body started to ache, I was weak, and I was sore from walking up the stairs. And these were only the immediate affects. I was instantly concerned about the longterm affects.

I started researching online to find what the minimal amount my body needed. Even though I don’t consistently have full access to each of these food groups, I know understand the benefits and what I truly need.

MyPlate replaced the popular food plate in 2011 and represents the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet, according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The five food groups consist of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, dairy and oils.

The following is based off ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Fruits

Daily recommendation: The daily recommendation of fruit varies by gender and age. A 19-30 year-old female should eat two cups of fruit a day.*

Key goal: make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

Health benefits: reduces risk of heart disease, protect against certain types of cancers, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk bone loss

Nutrients: Contains fiber, potassium, Vitamin C (important for growth and repair of all body tissue, and keeps teeth and gums healthy), and folic acid (helps the body form red blood cells).

 

Vegetables

Daily recommendation: The daily recommendation of fruit varies by gender and age. A 19-30 year-old female should eat 2.5 cups of vegetables a day.*

Key goal: make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

Health benefits: reduces risk of heart disease, protect against certain types of cancers, and reduces the risk of diabetes

Nutrients: Contains fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin A (keeps eyes and skin healthy), vitamin C

 

Grains:

Daily recommendation: The daily recommendation of fruit varies by gender and age. A 19-30 year-old female should eat 6 ounces of grains a day.*

Key goal: Make at least half of your grains whole grains.

Health benefits: reduces risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol, reduces risk of diabetes

Nutrients: Contains fiber, riboflavin and niacin (aids metabolism and nervous system), iron (carries oxygen in the blood, which prevents anemia), magnesium (helps build strong bones and releases energy from the muscle), and selenium (protects cells from oxidation and builds a healthy immune system), and folic acid.

Protein

Daily recommendation:  The daily recommendation of fruit varies by gender and age. A 19-30 year-old female should eat 5.5 ounces of grains a day.*

Health benefits: Helps build strong bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. Helps reduce risk of heart disease and prevents anemia,

Nutrients: Contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc (helps the immune system function), and omega-3 fatty acids (reduces risk of heart disease).

Diary

Daily recommendation: The daily recommendation of fruit varies by gender and age. A 19-30 year-old female should consume 3 cups of dairy a day.*

Health Benefits: Improves bone health, reduces risk of osteoporosis, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, helps reduce blood pressure, and reduces risk of diabetes.

Nutrients: Contains Calcium (helps build strong bones), potassium, and Vitamin D

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes of exercise a day. Those who exercise more may eat more to reach their calorie goal. 

Tags: ,

Categories: Home

Subscribe to Get Fit Get Life for the latest health news!

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “GFGL TRAVEL BLOG: Understanding the Food Plate While Traveling”

  1. February 13, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    nice post. thanks for sharing 🙂

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: