A Purely Nutritious Meal
If you were to Google the term "nutritious meal", you will find over 31,000,000 resources that claim to make your life easier and healthier. I don't know about you but 31 million choices gives my heart palpitations. That is simply to many choices and opinions to sift through - even for the dietitian.
So, I have just 3 words that will sum up what they all are telling you... PROTEIN, color & Fat!
That's right... Protein, Color & Fat!
Let's talk about this a little bit.
Protein can come from animal sources or plant sources, but the fact is you NEED protein. Protein is one of 3 macro-nutrients (the others being fat and carbohydrate) and is the building block for our hair, skin, bones, hormones, cellular structure, and many many more functions with in the body. Without protein, a body cannot function at its best and can even lead to specific protein deficient diseases found in several 3rd world countries.
Okay, you get that you have to get protein, but where does it come from?
Protein is found in any animal or animal product - obviously in different quantities. A chicken breast and a stick of butter may both contain protein but in very different amounts. All meats, poultry, seafood, dairy products, some grains and most vegetables consist of a protein makeup. Those who choose to carnivorously will get the majority of their protein through animal products - which in my opinion is the best way to consume adequate protein. Those who lead a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle learn (hopefully) how to pair their plant sources to obtain complete proteins.
A healthy individual should consume between .8 - 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight! This is the RDA or recommended dietary allowance. Before you start thinking “what in the world is she talking about”... let me put that into easier terms to understand...
Learn where protein comes from and ensure that each meal contains a high quality protein source and you will get what you need. Does that seem too simple? It may, but I am here to tell you that it is that simple! Simply eat protein at every meal and STOP WEIGHING and COUNTING everything!!!
Then there is the other side of the plate - COLOR. Color literally means color.... you know red, blue, yellow, green, orange... and no I do not mean mac-n-cheese or Fruity Pebbles!
Our fruits and vegetables can add a variety of color to our meals. I am sure you have heard the saying, "eat a rainbow". The pigmentation of fruits and vegetables is supplied via micro-nutrients - these are vitamins and minerals. As with macro-nutrients, our body needs these micro-nutrients for tasks such as hormone production and regulation, cellular pH, bone density, and so much more. We may only need small amounts of macro-nutrients, but they play a BIG role in our health.
Micro-nutrients are so important that there are drinks (Gatorade and Powerade to name a few) that were created to help replenish mico-nutrients as they are lost through extensive fluid waste.
By eating color, you will be giving your body a variety of micro-nutrients to ensure that your body continues to function at it's best. Yes, each micro-nutrient does have an RDA and you can find that here yet I find it to be a bit overwhelming to try to balance each of them. Simply ask someone who tries to meet EVERY SINGLE REQUIREMENT on their electronic food tracker! It is nearly impossible. The answer to this is simple though - eat color and eat it at every meal!
And finally there is the top of your plate, or the “top it off” part of your meal. By adding healthy fat to your plate, you will be nourishing your body with hormone balancing, disease fighting, and let’s face it, delicious foods. By simply adding about 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat to each meal, you will experience the benefits above and trigger the release of satisfaction hormones that will keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. Healthy fats include, but are not limited to, nuts and seeds, coconut, avocado and guacamole, olives, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee or grass fed butter, mct oil, and even nut butters. Just SIMPLY ADD A PALM FULL OF NUTS OR COCONUT OR DRIZZLE YOUR SALAD WITH AN OLIVE OIL BASED DRESSING AND YOU’VE GOT IT ALL TOGETHER.
There are plenty of thoughts out there around what the best way to eat is and do not dis-credit them simply because they are different from what I find to be the easiest and most nutritious way to handle food. However, I will say that it is much easier to choose protein and color than it is to ensure that the plate before you is going to provide 42grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and enough Vitamin A to last you a week! You catch my drift here?
If you are striving to build a nutritious relationship with food and you are done measuring and weighing everything that goes into your mouth, let me help you! I offer one on one nutrition counseling that will change your relationship with food forever. Head over to the "WORK WITH ME" tab to take a look or even schedule a phone call to chat with me about your needs.
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