So what makes a meal healthy?
According to some sources, it's when there is a balanced selection of essential components:
- lean protein
- complex carbohydrates
- healthy fats
Base of the meal
To be balanced, here you are looking to provide about 40g of protein (that's not 40g of the source of the protein either).
To obtain 40g, you will need about:
- 140g lean free-range beef
- 140g lean cage-free chicken
- 140g wild salmon
- 140g fish
- 3 - 4 eggs (or egg whites)
- a cup of Greek style yoghurt
- 55 - 85g raw mixed nuts
For beneficial carbohydrates, here you're looking to add complex carbohydrates to your meal. These are carbohydrates that take longer to be digested in the body, giving the feeling of being fuller for longer, with a slow release of energy. Avoiding simple sugars is a must here.
Healthy options include:
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked organic pasta
- 1 cup baked sweet potatoes
- 1 cup cooked beans or lentils
- corn tortilla
Most fruits and veges are packed with nutrients, and beneficial fibre (the 'stuff' you need to feel full quicker and for longer). The good news about these are that the calorie or kilojoule count is not terrifically high either, so you can fill up your plate with these! Ensuring your plate is 1/2 full with fruit and/or veges is great.
- 2 - 3 cups of apple or orange slices, berries (I'm thinking desert here!)
- 2 - 3 cups of broccoli, kale, spinach, steamed veges
- 2 - 3 cups of mixed salad, add tomatoes or capsicum for colour (forget the heavy mayo dressings!)
Looking for seconds? Go for more steamed veges.
Healthy fats should be included in your meal plan too, our body still requires fat to undertake many different processes, including transport of our hormones around our body. Excluding fats from your menu is not a balanced option. These fats can be added to your salad to dress it up too.
Look to include:
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
How do you make this all seem exciting to eat? By adding herbs and spices to your cooking. They don't add kilojoules or calories, but they do add flavour!
Try something new tonight, that may even been balanced, nutritious, tasty and healthy!