( 3-4 MINUTE READ )
Hello friends! So the last three weeks I’ve given protein, carbs and fats their own spotlight. Needless to say, they’re all very important in a healthy diet. Furthermore, balancing your meals properly with protein, carbs and fat is going to keep you satiated, keep your blood sugar stable and give your body the major nutrients it needs to thrive. Maintaining blood sugar levels helps you avoid cravings and energy crashes. This will help you consume less unnecessary calories overall because you won’t have crazy drops in blood sugar. When drops in blood sugar occur, your body physiologically wants carbs because it knows they are a quick source of fuel. Your body isn’t thinking long term, which is why you need to use your brain to give it what it ACTUALLY needs to prevent these crashes in the first place! Also, having adequate protein specifically is going to help preserve/build lean muscle, which improves your metabolism and makes it much easier to stay lean or get lean.
That being said, when it comes to putting meals together, it’s actually pretty simple. Each time you eat, you’ll want to include:
A source of protein
A source of carbs
A source of fat
A source of veggie (or more)
Portions are going to vary depending on your goals. If you are counting macros, here’s a newsletter I wrote that covers how to calculate those.
If you are not counting macros, I simply recommend reading labels or looking up nutrition facts / serving sizes and portioning at least 25-30g protein per meal, 30-40g carb per meal & 15-20g fat per meal. Once you get the hang of what foods are what macronutrient and what general serving sizes look like, it will be very easy to eyeball.
However, if you have a specific goal, I highly recommend learning how to count your macros / use a food scale. It not only teaches you about food / portions and sets you up for success long term, it gives you a specific plan and allows for adequate trouble shooting. Having a specific goal without a specific plan is like driving somewhere you’ve never been without a map. Sure you may know the general direction but it’s going to take you WAY longer and require a lot of guessing.
Whichever you choose, here are some easy balanced meal and snack ideas for ya ; )
Crockpot Pulled Chicken (protein)
Sweet Potato Wedges (carbs)
Summer Squash (veggie)
Ground Beef (protein)
Black Beans (carb)**has protein in it but NOT a protein source
Fajita Veggies (veggie)
Sour Cream (fat)
Chicken Sausage (protein)
Quinoa (carb)**has protein in it but NOT a protein source
Olive Oil (fat)
Veggie Omelete (eggs=protein & fat)
Pumpkin Oatmeal (veggie & carb)
Almond Butter (fat)
Low Fat Cottage Cheese (protein)
And snack ideas:
Greek Yogurt (protein)
Boiled Eggs (protein & fat)
Hummus (carb & fat)
Carrot Sticks (veggie)
Protein Shake (protein – here is the brand I recommend for quality & taste)
Peanut Butter (fat) **has protein in it but NOT a protein source
Deli Turkey (protein)
Another important thing to understand is not all food consists of only one macro. For example, 85% lean beef (or any fattier meat) is going to provide you both protein and fat, flavored greek yogurt is going to provide you both protein & carbs and all the delicious things you can think of are usually carbs and fats…pizza, ice cream, cookies, french fries, fried food in general haha. When in doubt, just look at/look up the label of the food! See where most of the calories are coming from. Or ya know….google it ; )
Here is a food list I give to clients that helps when putting together meals. Just choose one from each category. Of course you are not limited to what’s on this list, it’s just for ideas!
Next week I’ll be chatting about pre and post workout meals, which is the only time I don’t find balanced meals to be optimal.
Stay tuned and have a great week!
And as always, let me know if you have any questions : )