We have created an easy 4-step guide on how to create a balanced diet which can easily be managed when preparing your daily meals.
When eating healthy, we should always start first with the basics. Consuming and creating a balanced diet will ensure you stay full for longer, maintain a healthy gut, may even help with weight loss and maintenance, and give your body the energy it needs to work at its optimum.
Before you go out and spend money on expensive supplements, first we need to think about where and how we can improve the way we eat.
Our biggest enemy when it comes to eating, is not fuelling the body with the right foods. This can lead to unhealthy snacking, and midnight cravings.
Although there are some healthy snack alternatives you can add into your daily diet, which come in handy throughout the day between meals if needed. Curating a proper weekly meal plan is key to a healthy and balanced diet.
For anyone who requires a bit more foresight into their food intake, it may seem daunting to find delicious snacks to meet your dietary requirements.
However, there are some options to help you eat according to your dietary requirements. Including making your own meals from scratch, following recipes approved by qualified nutritionists. Low Protein Connect’s meal ideas provide the perfect recipe ideas for anyone living with phenylketonuria.
This simple guide will show you how to create a balanced meal by following these 4 steps:
Step 1: Choose a protein source.
Protein is important to include at every meal and snack as it is the most satiating nutrient. This means it keeps us full for longer than the other macronutrients.
You might think meat is the only way to get your daily dose of protein. Tofu, tempeh, and a variety of legumes are packed with high protein. Chickpeas in your salad, lentils in your stew, and grilled tofu can provide you with essentials proteins, if you don’t fancy always eating meat.
Protein recommended foods can include:
- Lean beef
- Textured soy protein
- Greek yoghurt
Step 2: Choose a carbohydrate source.
There are 2 major types of carbohydrates found in foods: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates mean they are easy for the body to digest and break down. These include table sugar, syrups, and fruit juice.
Complex carbohydrates contain longer chains of glucose molecules that are more difficult for the body to breakdown. These are in foods such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
When building a balanced meal, we want to opt for complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre as It helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, keep us feeling fuller for longer.
Carb-fuelled foods to consider:
- Wholemeal or wholegrain pasta
- Brown rice
- Wholegrain bread
- Potato/sweet potato
Step 3: Choose a variety of colours.
Did you know different coloured fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients and polyphenols? This means, we need to make sure we are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet.
Add into salads with your protein and carb source, or add into soups, stews, or as sides with fish or chicken.
Step 4: Choose a healthy fat source.
Fats are an important part of our diet. However, some fats are healthier than others.
For example, saturated fats are found in butter, coconut, and animal fats and in high amounts can increase our risk of chronic diseases.
Unsaturated fats on the other hand are important to include in a healthy diet. This type of fat help to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, keep the skin healthy, and assist with brain structure and function.
Recommended healthy fats to include can be:
- Firm tofu
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Peanut butter