I received a question the other day from a friend about balanced nutrition and how to eat healthy meals without getting bored, and how to change things up while still eating a healthy diet.
It can be easy to get into a “meal prep rut” so to speak but eating healthy does not have to be boring or restricting! The simplest way to eat healthy while being flexible in your diet is to remember that yes, food is fuel, but it's also so much more than that. Food is pleasure, food is art, cooked food and combining ingredients to change the flavor to satisfy our pallets is an innately human thing and this should be celebrated. What are some ways you can honor that, while still giving your body the proper fuel it needs? Here are some questions to ask yourself when planning out your meals:
- Is it delicious?
- Is this something that will satisfy me and fill me up?
- How can I add more color to this meal?
- Am I including some protein, whole food carbohydrates, and healthy fats into this meal?
In the nutrition world we talk about balanced meals and how they support our health, but what does this really mean? Balance can mean different things for different people depending on your needs, but making sure each macronutrient is represented on your plate is a great place to start. Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates are the main building blocks for our cells and these general dietary recommendations support the needs for the majority of healthy individuals:
- 45-65% calories from Carbohydrates
- 10-35% calories from Protein
- 25-35% calories from fats
Here is a list of common healthy fats, carbs, and proteins to play around with and balance your meals with better:
- Olive oil
- Cold pressed canola oil
- Olives, almonds
- Flax seed/oil
- Sesame seeds
- Albacore Tuna
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Brown rice
- Butternut squash
- Green peas
- Sweet potatoes
Will every meal be a perfect balance of these macronutrients? No! Do I believe this is something you should stress out about every time you sit down to eat? Also no! Food is FUN. Try out a new side dish with a vegetable you've never cooked before. Whip up that delicious Carbonara recipe you’ve been eyeing but are too afraid to try because you're worried it isn’t healthy enough. Dig into those classic recipes you remember from your childhood to get out of your rut and reconnect with foods that make you feel good. Get in the kitchen and explore!