Food is the cornerstone of health, and it truly has a massive impact on how you experience life. Your energy levels, metabolic health, hormone health and overall wellbeing are all reliant on good quality fuel going into your body. So today we are going to take a look at what a healthy plate actually looks like, so you can cut through the confusion out there and create delicious balanced meals.
What does a healthy meal look like?
There are literally one thousand different answers to this on the world wide web, and so I am here to break through the confusion and bring it right back to basics. Essentially, a healthy meal has three main components. These are good quality protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables or wholegrains. All three of these components are needed for balanced hormonal and metabolic health.
It’s also important to understand that one particular diet, for example paleo or atkins, does not suit everyone. We are all individuals, and we need to find the way of eating that suits our unique body makeup. Metabolic Balance is the best way I’ve found to do this, as it not only prescribes you a diet that suits your individual body, but this diet will also make sure that you are meeting your ideal vitamin and mineral intake.
Let’s take a look at the individual components of proteins, fats and complex carbs, and what this means in real life speak.
Every cell, organ and mechanism in your body relies on proteins. They literally build, repair and maintain your body and hormones. It’s important to consume adequate amounts, because it helps to ensure you have enough muscle, a strong immune response, a good sleeping rhythm and a whole lot of other essential functions. Another bonus of protein is that when you consume it with breakfast and lunch, it helps you to avoid night-time snacking due to its satiety and blood sugar stabilising effects.
Quality protein sources include:
- Grass fed meats
- Wild caught Fish and seafoods
- Organic dairy products
- Lentils and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Organic tofu and tempeh
A good portion size of protein at each meal equates to the following amounts (only one per meal):
- A palm size portion of meat or seafood
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup cooked legumes or lentils
- 150gm tofu, or ¾ cup
- ¼ cup nuts and seeds
- 1 cup of milk or yogurt
These are another essential building block of a healthy diet. Our hormones are built from cholesterol, which is fat. Every single one of our cells is also surrounded by a membrane that is made of fat. This means that we need to provide our body with healthy fat sources through our diet, in order to maintain cellular and hormonal health.
Healthy fat sources include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil and olives
- Organic dairy
- Grass fed butter or ghee
- Fish and seafood
Carbohydrates are often avoided and touted as bad. However, this is far from the truth. We need fibre rich complex carbohydrates for hormonal balance, microbiome health, nervous system health and a whole lot more. Good quality carbohydrates like sweet potato, quinoa, rolled oats and the like help to increase relaxation, promote ovulation, and activate various hormones in the body. Potato is not a bad food!
Nourishing complex carbohydrates include:
- Legumes and lentils
- Wholegrains such as quinoa, rice, millet, oats
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Other root vegetables
- Fresh fruit
- Green leafy vegetables
We’ve discussed the foundations of a healthy plate, which are complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Now I want to put it all together for you and give you some examples of nourishing meals containing these 3 essentials. Feel free to experiment with your own ideas too!
- Leftovers can make a very nourishing breakfast. Some left over meat with avocado and vegetables is perfect.
- Eggs on spelt bread with salmon and spinach
- A smoothie made with avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds, ½ banana, good quality protein, almond milk
- Oat porridge with sheep or goats yogurt and stewed apples
Main meal ideas
- Frittata made with left over roast veggies and salmon
- Roast chicken and vegetables with some greens and butter
- Rice with stir-fried chicken and vegetables. Or Stir-fried chickpeas and vegetables
- A big salad with either salmon, chicken or eggs, olive oil and feta
Nourishing snack ideas
- Fresh fruit
- Oat crackers with almond butter or feta cheese
- A few squares of good quality dark chocolate
- Vegetable sticks with homemade hommus or other dip
- Boiled eggs
- Homemade apple crumble, low sugar, with coconut cream or Greek yogurt
Eating a well-balanced and nourishing plate each day will help you create a solid foundation for long-term wellbeing. There is plenty of room for individual preferences and dietary needs within the foundations we have discussed today. However, if you want to know more about the perfect diet for your individual body, please click here to book a Metabolic Balance discovery call and learn what it can do for you.