Dietary Guidelines

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Adjust calories and macronutrient ratios according to activity level, body type, and goals

  • Eat enough adequate calories to sustain energy and maintain metabolism
  • Adjust carbohydrates and calories intake according to activity level, body type, and age
    • Younger or lean individuals as well as those with high activity levels may be able to utilize more carbohydrates and overall calories.
    • Older individuals and those with excess body fat or low activity will require less carbohydrates and overall calories.
  • Adjust calories and macronutrients according to goals
    • Gain muscle
      • See Building Muscle Mass for systematic approach for muscle mass increases while minimizing fat gain.
    • Lower body fat
    • Sports performance or active lifestyle

Eat small meals every few hours (Rationale & Counter Arguments)

  • Every 2.5 to 4 hours or eat 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks distributed throughout the day.
  • See Exchange Lists for food groups
    • Eat 3 food groups every meal
    • Eat 2 food groups every snack
  • Plan meals around moderate or intense exercise
    • Plan snack or meal 1 to 2 hours before
    • Eat higher carbohydrates meal very soon after exercise (Rationale)
      • carbohydrates and quality proteins in approximately 4:1 ratio
      • post-workout meal should be 10 - 20% of total daily caloric intake
      • eat Starch or Fruit exchange(s) for carbohydrates

Eat protein every meal and snack

Eat fruits or vegetables every meal and snack (Rationale)

Eat foods with fiber (Rationale)

  • Whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)

Eat calcium rich foods

  • Milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables, kelp, bean sprouts, tofu, garbanzo beans, canned salmon, sardines, or jack mackerel (with tiny bone particles), oysters, figs, almonds, chestnuts, filberts, sesame seeds.

Eat healthy fats and limit less healthy fats

Limit refined foods

  • Eat whole foods whenever possible
  • Limit white bread, cereals, and other processed foods
  • Limit sugar consumption
  • Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one serving per day

Limit cured and smoked products

  • Salt-cured, smoked, nitrite cured foods

Avoid plastic food and beverage containers (Rationale)

  • Particularly when choosing and storing acidic foods or foods containing fats
  • Especially when heating food in microwave
  • Avoid commercially canned foods and aluminum cans with plastic linings

Eat a variety of foods from each food group every day (Rationale)

  • Try new foods


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