I like to follow these simple guidelines when putting foods together to create a balanced meal. There is no one size fits all plan when it comes to nutrition, but following these core nutrition values will help you feel your best by providing your body with the nourishment it needs to thrive.
I call it the healthy plate method.
Eating a diet in a variety of colors is key to a healthy body and mind. Getting the right mix of non starchy veggies provides you with micronutritents, vitamins and minerals that feed your healthy gut microbes. Protein supports lean body mass and muscle repair. Complex carbs help with energy, restoration, and fiber. Healthy fat helps with satiety and supports healthy hormones and less inflammation.
What you do is fill half your plate with colorful non-starchy veggies, ¼ of your plate (4-6 g) with lean protein, ¼ your plate with fiber rich complex carbohydrates, and add 1-2 thumbnails of fats.
Non starchy veggies are foods like lettuces, kale, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, green beans, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes. Aiming to fill half your plate with foods like this helps you get the recommended 2 servings per meal or 5-6 servings per day.
High quality protein should fill ¼ of your plate. Your activity level, gender, health and fitness goals all affect the amount of protein you need in your diet. Around 3-6 ounces per meal is a good starting point. Chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef and bison, pasture raised eggs, fish, tofu, tempeh, Greek yogurt, and lentils are all great sources of protein.
High fiber, complex carbohydrates take up the remaining ¼ of your plate. Including whole-food sources of complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, potatoes, and parsnips are a good place to start. Grains like rice, quinoa and oats also could be incorporated here as well as beans and chickpeas. Fruits like apples, bananas, berries, cherries, oranges, kiwi, and cherries also go here.
Finally, include 1-2 thumbnails of healthy fats. My favorite sources are oils like avocado, coconut and olive as well as natural nut butters, grass- fed butter and ghee, and nuts and seeds like almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseed.