If you’re like most American, you constantly find yourself following very restrictive diets for short amounts of time hoping for a miracle… and like most Americans, you fall into the cycle of dieting and losing weight to binge eating and gaining it all back. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy process, but luckily we know just how to fix this problem! Are you ready for the big secret? Here it is: Eat healthy, balanced meals every day. That’s it! All you need to do is learn how to eat the proper types and balance of foods to promote ultimate health which will lead to healthy body weight when paired with a consistent workout routine. So… how do you eat a balanced meal? What does that even mean? There’s a fool-proof way to help you eat healthy for every meal and snack… we’re going to teach you how to build a balanced plate.
How to Build a Balanced Plate
A balanced plate refers to a balance of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
The balance of your meals is important in order to maintain:
•Healthy blood sugar
•Support healthy and effective metabolism.
Your meals and snacks should consist of whole foods, meaning vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and unprocessed meats, whole grains, and plant proteins such as beans, legumes, and lentils. You don’t want to be eating food that doesn’t look like its original form. For example, you want to eat whole grains instead of processed breads, or eat an orange versus drinking a glass of orange juice. The more food goes through processing, the fewer nutrients it provides. Take the orange- if you eat a whole orange, you get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber along with the delicious and satisfying taste of fresh fruit. If you drink orange juice, you’re basically drinking pure sugar with no fiber, and little to almost none of the natural vitamins and minerals that were once in the whole fruit before being processed. The less processed, the better!
Let’s get into the details of how to build a balanced plate…
Think of your plate as a pie chart. Now, divide it in half. One half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables (greens, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, artichokes, peppers, mushrooms, etc.). Divide the other half of the plate in half so you have two quarters remaining. One-quarter of your plate should be lean protein like meat, fish, and poultry. The other quarter can be a complex carb (carbs that aren’t highly processed. Opt for whole grains, sweet potatoes, or even beans which, while they do contain protein actually provide more carbs). Make sure you have a healthy serving of high-quality fat at every meal, that could be a tablespoon drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil over your veggies, or a quarter-sized serving of organic cheese!
Why can’t you just eat certain types of food at different times? Well, you can… but your body is designed to digest food together. Healthy fats make it possible for your body to absorb certain vitamins and minerals from the vegetables you eat and are necessary to create and balance hormones. The vegetables provide the fiber that help to slow down digestion and balance blood sugar levels from the carbs. Carbs provide you with energy. Proteins help your body feel satiated and are required to build every cell in your body, not just muscle!
When building your balanced plate, make sure you pay attention to the quantity and quality of your foods. Quantity? Didn’t we just cover that? Yes and no- what we mean here is portion size. Be sure to make sure you are eating correct portion sizes and not just eating mindlessly huge amounts of protein or carbs simply because they fit on your plate. When it comes to quality, you really don’t want to skimp. Whenever possible, opt for organic, non-GMO, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and unprocessed everything. The more modified or processed a food is the fewer nutrients it has, and the less it is the way nature intended it to be. Our bodies are designed in a way that works best with the highest quality foods.
A balanced plate is the way to go when you’re eating for both longevity and a healthy waistline!