Not all meals have to be pieced together, not all meals need to be a 1-pot wonder. You may have a recipe for turkey meatloaf and not know if that’s enough for dinner or if something else should accompany it. Not every meal is going to have all the parts that may be optimal and some people have different needs than others. That being said, I will go into what a typical “plate” can include to help keep the diet optimal into a healthy meal.
You may have heard of macronutrients. These are the main large nutrients of our diet, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are all important, everyone has a different ratio of needs given these macronutrients. Some people need more carbohydrate, some people need less, some need more fat, some less, etc. Generally, when building a plate, it’s ideal to have protein, fat, carb, AND vegetables. We’ll go into each nutrient below.
Choose lean cuts of meat that are free of antibiotics and hormones, wild fish, free range eggs, legumes, and some sources of protein powders.
Choose whole grains, root vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and limit or avoid sugar. (Different articles I’ve written talk about sports nutrition, that is a separate topic where sugar has its place).
Choose healthy oils like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil (rarely people may need to watch this oil with high cholesterol).
Choose as much color as possible, get variety, get quantity, choose frozen in the winter months if necessary or just for convenience. Things like salads, roasted broccoli, mashed cauliflower/cauliflower rice, stir fry with kale, peppers, onions, etc.
When you grab from each nutrient referenced above, you can start to build your plate. Here are some examples…
- Wild salmon, roasted root vegetables, salad with olive oil
- Fajitas- ground organic turkey/chicken, sauteed onion/bell peppers/kale, with salsa, and guacamole. Side of fresh arugula to accompany with olive oil.
- Cauliflower rice, black beans, roasted broccoli with coconut oil, fresh tomatoes/avocado on top
- Curry spiced cauliflower rice, red lentils, swiss chard, onion, coconut oil, with salad (mixed greens, cucumber, shredded cabbage, olive oil/lemon juice).
As mentioned earlier, you’re not always going to have every single piece to this “plate” but hopefully this is a helpful guide to building a healthy meal.