Many people have asked me how I ensure my, and my families diet is nutritionally balanced? The short answer is, with a little forethought and a bit of planning, having a healthy diet is really quite simple.
I realise I have the advantage of nutritional knowledge and also a passion for cooking since I was a child, (although I am not a trained cook). I appreciate that for many of you, nutrition and or food may not be your calling. So one of my aims at Well Nourished is to help you to understand how to choose foods so that all of your nutritional needs are met and your taste buds are truly satisfied. It is also the reason why I structure my recipes with details of how the ingredients assist your health, as well as offering suggestions for options and variations to suit your individual tastes and dietary requirements. For more about my recipe structure, you can click here.
But now, for some general guidelines for ensuring all of your nutritional needs are met…
A balanced meal
So when I think about creating a meal or snack, I primarily aim to have a little of all of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) in one sitting. If you are eating a good variety of plants, with a little-unprocessed protein (you can read more about protein here), the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) will be naturally present alongside. For example; a little meat or a vegetarian source of protein, with a salad or vegetables is a simple, but very well balanced meal.
To simplify nutrition, the dominant macronutrient is generally the one associated with the food. I do however want to clarify, that whole foods are rarely just one macronutrient. For example meat is not just protein and fat, it also has a carbohydrate content. Whole grains are not just carbohydrates, but also have some protein and fat. Most plant based foods are largely carbohydrate and fibre with a little protein and occasionally fat.
The next thing I think about is variety. Too much of any single food, even a whole food, is not always a good thing. Make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut eating the same primary food in different forms. Wheat is one of the worst offenders here. For example, many people would have a wheat based cereal or toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner and wheat based cake or biscuit for a snack. This is and example of poor variety, which ultimately results in poor nourishment and nutritional deficiency.
A balanced day
I tend to think in 24 hour cycles (I try not to venture afar from the present)! So each day I endeavour to eat lots of different foods across each meal or snack time. It doesn’t always work out the way I plan, but I generally manage to have lots of variety in a day of nourishment.
A balanced week
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”
Really, that small sentence, sums up the essence of a balanced meal! But I hope my long winded post has got you thinking a little about how to extend the variety and range of the foods you consume.
Rather than counting your calories, make your calories count and nourish your body each and every day with a variety of real, nature given whole foods.
Do you have any tips or tricks for ensuring you eat a balanced diet? Is there anything else I can post on that will help you to eat well? ASK your questions in the comments below.
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