How-To Create A Well-Balanced and Maintainable Diet
Last week we talked over the essential foundation of a healthy meal, macronutrients, and micronutrients. You can refer to Part 1 HERE.
This week we are going over the difference between whole foods vs. processed foods and portion sizes. Also, I share another great resource for you at the end of this blog post.
Alright, let’s jump right in!
A well-balanced and maintainable diet contains a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods: lean protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, a mix of micronutrients and lots of water! (All the while limiting consumption of saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.)
With this definition, the best and most balanced diet needs to be mostly WHOLE foods and minimal processed foods.
WHOLE FOODS: Refers to food in its most natural state, with minimal processing.
Example: Eating an apple, avocado, lean piece of fish would be considered whole foods. These are the best because they contain the most nutrients and the least additives in them.
PROCESSED FOODS: Processed foods have been altered from their natural state. There are varying degrees of processed foods, from minimally processed to highly processed. The more processing a food has gone through, the fewer nutrients it retains. This means more empty calories that provide little to no nutritional benefit.
Example: A variety of different techniques are used to process food. Any food that’s processed is usually frozen, canned, dried, baked, or pasteurized.
A wide range of products are considered processed foods, including:
ALL food in general can be split up into three categories called “macronutrients”: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are the three food types you get your calories and energy from. Each macronutrient has a different recommendation for portion size depending on what our body needs to receive optimal nutrients and benefits.
*The information below is all based on general and average serving sizes. Every person’s serving/portion sizes will vary depending on your own goals. This article is simply to help give you clarity on average portion sizes and how much on average we should consume in a day. This is not intended as a substitute for consultation, evaluation or treatment by a medical professional and/or registered dietitian or nutritionist.
HOW MUCH? Up to 4 servings (which could include dried fruit & starchy veggies)
WHAT IS A SERVING? ½ cup of cooked rice or quinoa; 1 cup cooked pasta; 1 cup cold cereal; 3/4 cup cooked hot cereal; 1 slice bread; ½ hamburger bun, english muffin or bagel; 1-6 inch round tortilla; dried fruit should be limited to ¼ cup per day; 1 small potato/yam or ½ cup peas
HOW MUCH? Aim for a minimum of 6 non-starchy veggies daily, especially fibrous (aka: contains fiber)
WHAT IS A SERVING? ½-1 cup cooked/steamed; 1 cup chopped raw; 2 cups raw leafy greens; ¾ cup (6 oz) veg juice; starchy (counted as Carbs) = 1 small potato/yam; ½ cup peas
HOW MUCH? 1-2 servings of fruit daily, especially fibrous.
WHAT IS A SERVING? 1 piece whole fruit; ½ cup fruit puree (no sugar); 1 cup fruit salad (no syrup); 1 cup berries; 12-15 grapes or cherries; 1 medium banana; 2 small plums; ½ cup pure fruit juice (sparingly)
HOW MUCH: Aim for 4-5 servings
WHAT IS A SERVING: 3-4oz meat = deck of cards/palm of hand; 3-4oz fish = cheque book; 1 egg + ¼ cup whites; ½ cup ground meat, ½ cup beans or lentils; ¼ cup bean dip
HOW MUCH? You need 3-6 small servings daily.
WHAT IS A SERVING: Look for raw, no-oil or salt-added, nuts & seeds. Generally, consume seeds in 2 Tbs servings and nuts in ¼ cup servings = rounded handful.
Look for raw, natural nut & seed butters; keep refrigerated after opening. Generally consume these in 1-2 Tbs portions.
Keep nut & seed oils in tightly sealed dark containers in a dark, cool location, especially flaxseed.
Consume these in 1 tsp to 1 Tb servings. Avocados rock! Consume 1/3 of a large avocado or ½ of a medium daily; 1/4-1/3 cup guacamole = 1.5 servings of fat.
Part III: Sample meal plans for a well balanced and maintainable diet.
The Savvy Shopper’s Guide To Eating Healthy: The best guide to help you ditch the confusion and find clarity & confidence to shop smarter and live a healthier life!
Throughout this guide, you will find healthier choices from each food & nutrient group to eliminate any confusion (what to eat MORE of and LESS of)
- Complex-starchy carbs & whole grains
- Meat, dairy & alternatives
- Vegetables (And a complete list of fibrous veggies)
- Healthy/good fats
It also includes:
- Pantry staples & extras for cooking, seasoning & nutrition boosting
- The dirty dozen & the clean fifteen to guide your fruit and vegetable choices
- How-to be a savvy label reader to shop smarter and more efficiently
- How-to distinguish added vs. natural sugar on labels to help limit daily sugar intake.
1. How-to put together a grocery guide to reach your health goals
2. How-to create a 3-day meal plan in less than 5 minutes
3. How-to avoid bad decisions when hunger strikes at 2:00pm
4. The sample grocery guide I give to all my clients
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