I love fruits and veggies, which is more that what many people in the world today could say. Because of this, I would safely (and naively) assume that I was getting everything my body needs, on both a macro- and micro-nutrient level. Well, I was wrong.
After many years on Spark People, I learned a thing or two about nutrients and their importance, as well as how tricky it is to hit the levels of each that are needed by our bodies.
My first point is that eating “whole” produce is of highest importance to me. This means no deep-frying, cheese-covering, or over-salting! Sweet potatoes are healthy, but if you deep fry them and drizzle globs of ranch dressing on top, the point is pretty much gone and forgotten. Having an apple isn’t the same when you coat it in caramel, sprinkles, and chocolate chips. Just ask your dentist.
Secondly, fruits and vegetables are different. Fruits taste awesome and are loved by the masses more than veggies because of one simple truth: sugar. 95% of fruits (my guesstimation, not a real fact) have sugar in it. Vegetables, not so much. The vegetables that people do enjoy tend to be those with more sugar, such as carrots and tomatoes (rather than mushrooms and spinach). Many (not all) vegetables are more nutrient-dense than their fruit counterparts. One cup of grapes, for instance, is about 105 Calories and will give you 22mcg of vitmain K while one cup of spinach is less than 10 Calories and will give you about 145mcg of vitamin K!
Finally, don’t expect to be perfect. I know I’m low in calcium. I love spinach (which has a lot of calcium in it) and I drink non-dairy milk, but I’ve always struggled to get the recommended 1000mg, even with Spark People’s help. Since significantly reducing dairy intake, it’s gotten even more difficult. On occasion, I’ll have a couple of Tums tablets to give myself a little nutrient boost.
Speaking of nutrient-boosting, I do take a multivitamin every day. As mentioned in my first point, getting your nutrients from whole foods is best; however, as mentioned in my final point, perfection is rarely achieved!
Currently, Slice of Life Adult Gummy Multivitamin+ are the vitamins I take every morning. They’re allergen-free and have no added sugar… and they taste great!
In my apartment, I always keep a couple of bottles of my personal favorite: Trader Joe’s Adult Gummy Vitamins. They have added sugar (which is probably why I say they’re my favorite, haha) but still pack in tons of nutritional value!
Gummy vitamins have won over my boyfriend and I, especially after issues I’d had in the past with vitamin pills. I used to take One-A-Day Women’s Multivitamin and no matter what time of day I’d take it, no matter what or how much I ate before/during/after taking it… I’d get sick within 20 minutes! Awful!
When trying to determine good whole-food sources of nutrients (so you don’t have to pop pills), here are some good websites to reference:
- Vitamins Nutrition Chart – A great breakdown of each vitamin and the sources from which you can get it. Also, further information on high-nutrient foods.
- The World’s Healthiest Foods – An extremely comprehensive list of the “World’s Healtheist Foods”, including recipes and in-depth nutritional analysis, down to the micro-nutrient level.
I haven’t done much more than research micro nutrients; I can barely master macro! I’ll definitely blog again about nutrients in the future, hopefully to touch upon the micro side of things, too!