HOW TO CREATE A BALANCED MEAL – 5 SIMPLE TIPS!
I get asked a lot about how to create a really nourishing meal – what the right balance is of certain food groups and how to ensure that even on a vegetarian diet you get the right amount of protein and healthy carbohydrates. I thought I’d share some of my top tips that I use every day!
GET YOUR FIBRE ON
Fibre is so important, especially now in the 21st century where the percentage of shops stocking processed foods is bigger than ever. Bringing your meals back to basics and indulging in lots of natural unprocessed wholefoods is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. The wealth of fibre in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts & seeds all help to promote better digestion, raise your metabolism and generally make you feel far fuller when incorporated well in your meal.
LOVE ME SOME LOW-GI CARBOHYDRATES
Including low-GI carbohydrates is key for sustained energy. High-GI foods cause a spike in our blood sugar levels, so foods such as white rice and white pasta are off the table. This doesn’t mean you need to cut the carbs, oh no, instead simply substitute them for the good slow-releasing ones. Quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, oats and sweet potato are all great nutritious options.
Protein-rich foods are one of the best things to add to your meal for that feeling of being fuller for longer. This is because the body breaks down protein far slower than it does many other foods. Meaning the energy will release slowly into your body, keeping you far more satisfied. My favourite protein sources are nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and quinoa. They are all very alkaline and easy to digest, which also helps your energy levels!
Refined sugar is one of the worst things you can have, particularly for any hopes of sustained energy. It will make your blood sugars soar, leaving you satisfied for the best part of half an hour before you get an almighty crash, and, guess what? You’ll need something else, to keep you going! Refined sugar is unexpectedly hidden in many foods that seem ‘healthy’ – tomato sauces, dressings, soups, and even so called natural energy bars. Try and kick the refined sugar fix if you can – making your own foods from scratch is the simplest way to make sure you steer clear of it, but if that option isn’t for you, just be aware when buying ready made food in the supermarket and check the ingredients on the packet!
TAKE YOUR TIME
While this isn’t an actual addition to your meal, it is one of the most important factors in ensuring you’re not overeating. Make sure you properly chew your food, and take your time over your meal. If you’re in a rush, your food won’t be digested properly, leaving you feeling weighed down, lethargic and bloated. If you take your time eating, you’ll find you’ll be fuller far quicker and need much less to keep you going.