Over the course of a year, the average person eats over 1,000 meals, adding up to over 1,990 pounds of food. It’s kind of hard to keep numbers that big in mind when you’re spooning into a jar of overnight oats, or tucking into a bowl of pasta! Some meals are born of necessity, with convenience as the top priority, and some are long, luxurious affairs, the more elaborate, the better.
Either way, one thing is for sure: It takes a lot of food to fuel you through your days and nights. And there are a lot of choices to be made when it comes to that food. If you don’t want to carelessly consume — if you want to eat like it matters — that adds more layers of intentionality and awareness to mealtimes. We know how important mindful eating is to the ZENB community, and we have your back every step of the way!
So, let’s talk about eating like it matters, with a focus on nutrition. “Healthy eating” can mean a lot of different things to different people, but striving to get maximum nutritional value out of every bite is a good place to start.
Nutritionists agree that there are six essential nutrients that each body needs: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Carbs, though they sometimes get a bad rap, are a really important source of energy, and fats are a concentrated form of energy. Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies; literally, they are the major structural components of our bones, organs, blood cells, hormones, and more. Vitamins and minerals help our bodies perform zillions of functions each day, and water is essential to our survival!
Carbs, fats, and proteins are found in all sorts of foods. For instance, a fast-food breakfast sandwich contains all of these nutrients, but in an extremely calorie-dense package that’s also high in saturated fat and sodium and low in fiber. So yes, you’re getting some nutrients, but in an unbalanced way. An omelet packed with spinach and broccoli, with a side of fruit or toast, might contain similar ingredients but is going to offer far more fiber, vitamins, and minerals in each forkful.
This is one of the reasons that we’re so stoked on the fact that ZENB pasta is made from the entire yellow pea, including the skins. Not only are we wasting less by making our products this way, but using the whole plant means more powerful nutrition for you, including 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber in every serving. (For more tips on how to incorporate fiber into your diet, head here!)
In general, plants offer an amazing nutritional profile; they are such an efficient source of the good stuff that fuels us, without any harmful compounds, like the bad types of cholesterol. But even how you consume plants can have a big impact on your nutrition: french fries and a baked potato are not equivalent. The same goes for a fresh tomato and a bottle of ketchup, or creamed greens versus a raw kale salad.
We’re big fans of small indulgences, especially during special occasions and holidays, but it is good to remember that each small food decision you make adds up to a larger nutritional picture. There are also smart, creative ways to glow-up classic comfort foods, like mac-and-cheese (add cauliflower for creaminess), pho (use less/no sodium broth), and spaghetti and meatballs (use ground turkey instead of beef). Using clever substitutions, and squeezing in plants wherever possible, can help make dishes like these work with your lifestyle!