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How to Combine Protein, Complex Carbs & Healthy Fat in a Diet

By Joshua McCarron

It is often a difficult task to combine all of the elements of a healthy diet with any real consistency. Protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats should all be balanced to enable you to maintain energy levels, rebuild and recuperate, and avoid illness. Finding ways to include protein, carbs and fats in your diet in the proper forms and amounts is the key to optimum health.

  1. Calculate how much protein you should be eating on a daily basis. According to Canadian Living, 20 to 30 percent of your daily caloric intake should be in the form of lean protein. As an example, a 2,000 calorie per day diet at 30 percent protein would translate to 600 calories from protein. Since 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories, 600 is divided by 4 to give you 150 grams of protein per day. People who are less active may need closer to 20 percent, while active people should stay up near the 30 percent range.

  2. Calculate how many carbohydrates you need each day. Carbohydrate suggestions can vary quite a lot depending on who is giving them, but a general rule is to aim for about 60 percent of calories from complex carbohydrates, says the Life Clinic website. A 2,000 calorie per day diet is multiplied by 0.60 to come up with 1,200 daily carbohydrate calories. One gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, which means 1,200 divided by 4 equals 300 grams of complex carbohydrates per day.

  3. Calculate how much fat you should consume each day. The University of Maryland Medical Center says 25 to 30 percent of your daily diet should be made up of healthy fats. A person on a 2,500 calorie per day diet should take in roughly 625 calories of fat per day at 25 percent. Since fat has 9 calories per gram, that would translate to around 69 grams of fat per day. Saturated fat should only make up about 10 percent of your daily fat total.

  4. Eat lean cuts of beef, chicken, lamb, turkey and pork for sources of protein. Add eggs, dairy products such as skim milk, cheese and yogurt, and other proteins such as tofu and whey or soy protein powders. Consume complex carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals and beans to release energy slowly and keep your energy levels high. Add beneficial fats such as avocado, flax, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish to make up the fat portion of your diet.

  5. Combine the sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats in the recommended proportions throughout the day as you snack and eat meals. Salads that contain each element are good choices, as are casseroles, sandwiches, and smoothies made of protein powder, berries, yogurt and flax or coconut oil.

  6. Tip

    Consult your physician to determine how many overall calories you should be consuming daily. Modify percentages of fats, carbohydrates and proteins to the range that suits your lifestyle best. Cook your own food as often as possible to ensure you get the proper amounts of all nutrients.

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