Most of the youth are now back to school and are beginning to energize their brains learning lots about reading, writing and arithmetic. Some adults are back to school, too. For the next few weeks, let’s go back to school and learn or re-learn Nutrition 101.
Water and food is what our bodies need to grow and survive. It’s amazing how our bodies efficiently digest and absorb what we put in our mouths.
Let’s begin with where does our food get absorbed and how long does it takes? Did you ever wonder how you could be so hungry after eating apples, yet be so full after eating ice cream?
Digestion takes place in the mouth, stomach, small intestines and large intestine. Each type of food fat, carbohydrate and protein are absorbed at different places. Digestion begins in the mouth. Here, only carbohydrate starts to break down. Food sources of protein and fat need to wait until they get further down the digestion path.
In the stomach, carbohydrate digestion stops and protein and fat begin. Here is where gastric juices start to work on proteins and fat. Next stop on the digestion train is the small intestine. Here is where most of the food we eat is digested and absorbed. Sugars, like fruit sugar found in apples, are easily absorbe. Hence, the feeling of hunger seeps in a bit quicker. In the small intestine, fats, starches and proteins need enzymes to help break apart larger complexes into small fragments which then can be absorbed. This takes a bit more time and, therefore, when we eat ice cream, the hunger pains are warded off for just a bit longer.
It’s important to eat a variety of protein, carbohydrate and fats. Each gives us different nutrients for our bodies, are absorbed differently and take various times to absorb. Some sources of protein are milk, eggs, meat and legumes. Sources of simples carbohydrate include fruits, sugars and milk and complex carbohydrates include, rice, pasta and potatoes. Sources of fat are ice cream, oils and fats added to sweets and snack foods.
Mix it all up at breakfast, lunch and dinner and our bodies will feel better and will be more evenly fueled. Keep this in mind when planning breakfast, lunch and dinner. Serve sources of carbohydrates, protein and some fats. Here is a sample menu with a recipe to follow for breakfast.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffin
4 large eggs (or 2 eggs and 4 egg whites)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups grated zucchini, undrained with skin left on
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white flour
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together eggs, sugar, applesauce, zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together white and whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until blended. Pour into non-fat sprayed muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F. Makes: 2 dozen.