Nutrition is just as important as fitness when focusing on your overall wellness. Whether you are overweight, underweight, or are currently managing your weight, you need to work hard to get to your desired body and then maintain it. For this to happen, proper nutrition has to be in place.

Many people assume that if they just count calories, they are doing all right. However, the problem with this is that you may not be eating the right foods and making the most of the calories consumed. Below are a few tips to better understanding proper nutrition and how it’s more than just counting your calories.

Knowing Your Calorie Count Is Important

It’s a good idea to at least know the suggested number of calories that you should be consuming on a daily basis. The amount will vary based upon your gender, age, and how active you are throughout the day. If you lead an extremely active lifestyle, you will need more calories in order to provide you with enough energy to sustain your lifestyle.

A calorie counter can be used to help you determine how many calories you should be consuming daily. If you are looking to gain weight or lose weight, it’s best to talk to your doctor so that you can be given specifics for you as an individual.

For more information on the seemingly simple term, read our Simple Food Terms – Explained series on calories.

But So Are Dietary Guidelines

There are dietary guidelines in place that talk about the food pyramid and what you should be consuming on a daily basis. Your diet should consist of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.

This demonstrates that calories alone are not going to provide you with proper nutrition. If you don’t consume any fruits or vegetables, you are going to be deficient in various vitamins and minerals that will help you to be healthier and stronger. As an example, if you don’t consume enough dairy products, such as milk or cheese, you are going to be deficient in vitamin D, and this can lead to many problems such as bone loss.

You may also not be getting enough vitamins and minerals, thus causing you to have a weaker immune system. If such a problem were to arise, you may find that you get sick more frequently, and this is because your body is incapable of fighting the viruses and bacteria around.

How to Improve Your Nutrition

You will find that there are plenty of ways to improve your nutrition and make it a key focus. One of the first things you should learn about are the good calories – such as those that are nutrient rich. Your goal should be to focus on variety and also maintain a diet that is low in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats. Too many people consume the majority of their calories in carbs and fat, which is what you want to stay away from.

The FDA provides a significant amount of insight into the foods you eat. All processed and packaged foods contain a nutrition facts panel that will give you details about calories, total and saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugar, and various other things. It will allow you to see what you are eating and make better choices along the way.

It can be helpful to create a food journal so that you can emphasize nutrition on a daily basis. Write down what you are eating so you can see certain food trends. You may be overeating without even realizing it. Various nutrition apps are available on the market as well, which will help you to count your calories and place a greater emphasis on nutrition. If you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables, or your grains are not whole, the apps will alert you to these.

In the end, nutrition is what’s going to help you to be a healthier person. Don’t just count your calories because it’s not enough to help you in the long run.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064894.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160774.php