We get a lot of conflicting advice on what we should eat, how much we should eat and when we should eat it – the reality is enjoying fresh seasonal wholefoods is the main idea and enjoying a balance wherever possible.
When creating a meal there are simple steps we can take to help create the perfect plate, to create wellness and feel satisified from what we just ate and allow the body to continue enjoying those benefits all day long.
There are 6 simple steps to creating the perfect meal:
Every single vegetable is a superfood in its own right, powered with vitamins, minerals, fibre, water etc. Each vegetable has its own nutritional profile that helps to create wellness. The key is having a variety of veggies aim to have your daily serves.
Australian guidelines recommend around 5 cups a day, I love going above and beyond and aim for 9-10. Filling your plate with veggies, a variety of colour, texture, shape and size is the start to having a perfectly balanced plate.
Protein is literally the building blocks of health. Amino acids provide the body with structural and cellular repair. It helps us to feel full and satisfied, and when paired with carbohydrates (such as vegetables and grains) it can help to balance blood glucose levels, and in turn, support our energy levels and cognitive function.
The most balanced and easily utilised protein is from animal sources; red meat, white meat, eggs, fish, however, also enjoying non-animal protein brings other benefits as they often have higher fibre content and a different nutrient profile. Non-animal protein includes legumes, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.
Every meal and snack should have some element of protein. A handful of nuts, an egg with your breakfast, fish with dinner.
We need Fibre, we need it to move waste out of the body, to feed good bacteria and to help us feel full. We know that fibre can help move excess hormones (such as estrogen) out of the body, we know that it can help promote cardiovascular health and reduce cholesterol, and we know that most Australians do not eat enough fibre.
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Australian adults is 30g of Fiber per day. It sounds scary but it is absolutely possible.We get fibre from fresh produce, legumes and beans, nuts and seeds and things such as psyllium husks, slippery elm, chia seeds and bran.
Adding these fresh wholefoods to your plate, and a variety of these foods all add up to reach your daily RDI.
- Good Fats
Our body craves good fat – it helps us feel full, it supports a slow release of energy, we need it for hormone development and our brain is at least 60% fat! Fat, good fat that is, is essential to wellbeing.
There was once the thought that fat makes us fat – this has been debunked time and time again. There has been research that found people eating low fat and low-fat options actually put more weight on. yep, its time we moved on from low fat.
We don’t need to go overboard, but there are a lot of benefits we can enjoy from good fats and essential fatty acids. These foods include; avocado, small oily fish (sardines) + fish in general, flaxseeds, chia seeds, olive oil, hemp seeds.
What is a meal without flavour? bland and unenjoyable. Everything listed above brings its own flavour, but our body likes variety. Salty, bitter, sweet, sour and umami. We can get these from natural sources such as macrobiotic sea salt, or add them in such as fermented veggies, miso or seaweed.
You can add heat with chilli, flavour with spices such as cinnamon or enhance your meal with fresh herbs.
Whatever you are eating, it should bring you happiness. Food is here to nourish us – if we are worried about if it is the “right food” or “bad good” or if it could “be better” we lose the happiness and joy that comes from eating that meal.
Create food that makes you smile, that you enjoy cooking and even better – that you enjoy eating.
Words: Alyce Cimino || Naturopathy