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Key nutrients busy people need.
Busy people need a strong nutritional platform to ensure they are performing at their best on a daily basis. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes our nutrition can take a back seat when things are frantic, and as a result our intake of key nutrients can be compromised. So if you know that your nutritional intake is not always as on point, here are some of the most important nutrients the body requires to keep our energy systems firing at their best, and the key foods you can get them from as part of your daily diet.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, particularly for women with 1 in 4 Australian women having low iron levels. While you do find iron in a range of different foods including wholegrains and legumes, plant sources are generally not well absorbed. For this reason, if you are a red meat eater, it is imperative that you consume lean red meat, in small amounts at least 2-3 times each week to give the body access to the readily absorbed iron it needs to help transport oxygen around the body. A small serve of minced meat, a lamb cutlet, lean sausage or a couple of meatballs are all iron rich options to increase your intake. It may also be useful to know that when you consume plant sources of iron via wholegrain bread, cereal and legumes, iron absorption will be enhanced when Vitamin C is also consumed via foods such as green vegetables, red capsicum and citrus foods.
2. Omega 3 fats
Unless we are consuming salmon every day, few of us are getting the omega 3 fats we need for optimal cognitive functioning. While tuna is often considered a good source of omega 3 fats, often the canned varieties we buy are actually low fat and as such richer dietary sources of omega 3 fat include sardines and salmon. If you are not a keen fish fan, it may be worth considering taking a fish oil supplement, which you can freeze to avoid any unwanted side effects or fish aftertaste.
3. Dietary fibre
The right mix of the right types of fibre is crucial for a well-functioning bowel as constipation and gut discomfort can be caused by an inadequate fibre intake as well as insufficient amounts of fluid. Adults need 30g of dietary fibre each day, with many of us not achieving this target on a daily basis. To achieve this fibre goal we need to consume a couple of pieces of fibre rich fruit such as berries or bananas, 2-3 cups of mixed vegetables and/ or salad as well as wholegrain bread and breakfast cereal each day. In addition, an adult will need at least 1 – 1 ½ litres of fluid to ensure the digestive tract is functioning optimally.
4. Vitamin D
With up to 50% of Australian adults battling low Vitamin D levels, especially throughout the Winter months, it is worth considering how much sunlight you are actually getting as many of us take the ‘slip, slop,slap’ message very seriously. It is also good to know that there are some dietary sources of Vitamin D that you may be able to incorporate into your diet more frequently including dairy foods, eggs, tinned fish and some specific mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light to trigger Vitamin D production and are marketed as such in supermarkets. In general most of us will need at least 10-20 minutes of daily sunlight exposure, in addition to some daily food sources to ensure we keen on top of our Vitamin D levels and it is worth doing, as low levels are an issue for our mood, metabolism and bone health long term.
Adults need plenty of magnesium on a daily basis, especially those of us who are particularly active as magnesium is involved in energy production, protein formation, muscle contraction and nerve communication. Magnesium is found in a range of foods including bananas, leafy greens, wholegrains, nuts, and avocados, foods which we will need to consume on a daily basis to get the recommended amounts. Simply focusing on choosing wholegrain sources of carbs; aiming for a daily intake of leafy greens and snacking on nuts and fresh fruit including bananas will help to tick the box on the recommended amounts of magnesium in your diet.
Serves 1 – per serve: 280 cals | 6g fat | 20g protein | 40g carbs | 6g fibre
1 scoop protein powder
3/4 cup organic instant oats
1 small banana
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. stevia
1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
2. Pour batter into a pre heated skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium high heat.
3. Flip very carefully after a few mins and cook the other side.
Read more on the breakfast mistakes you are making here.
Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.