A Nutritious Meal, Easy As One, Two, Three

My last post talked about building the foundations of a healthy diet, click here and have a read first if you missed it. This week I'm going to get into the specifics of what this might actually look like at a meal. 

I get it, it's confusing! There is so much information everywhere on what to eat, when, and it's hard to know what to actually do. Things have gotten way too complicated, and I'm hoping that I might be able to simplify things a little bit, and help you start getting the basics right. I'm going to teach you something today, and this can really help in working out what a balanced meal might look like on your plate. It's a basic three (well actually four, but that's not as catchy) step process to help you create a balanced and nutritious meal any day or night of the week. 

Step one - Fill half your plate with veggies! Or your bowl, or your tupperware container, I don't care what you're eating out of, but just make sure half of it is filled with veggies. This includes salad, steamed veggies, grilled veggies, roast veggies, they're all good (maybe go easy on the potatoes and sweet potatoes, I'm going to count them into the smart carb section of the plate). 

Step two - Add a lean protein to make up 1/4 of your plate. This could be in the form of grilled chicken or fish, it could be an omelette or a lentil curry, stir fry tofu or roast lamb or beef. Make sure around 1/4 of your plate/bowl/container contains lean protein. 

Step 3 - Smart carbs (low GI or wholegrain choice) should make up the remaining 1/4 of your plate. These are things like grainy bread, pasta, oats, quinoa, corn, sweet potato, potato, and long grain rice. These carbohydrates are filled with more nutrition that other types of carbs, they keep us fuller for longer - as they are more slowly digested, and help to keep us 'regular', so they are basically an all round good source of fuel for our body and brain.   

Step 4 (not always necessary) - add a delicious dressing to your salad or veggies. I'm loving olive oil, balsamic and sesame oil on my salad at the moment. Or you could try a basil pesto on veggies. Tahini dressing is also a tasty option. Veggies don't have to be bland! Add a dressing to make them tasty, and then you will want to eat them. Plus, adding a little fat in the form of a dressing, helps our bodies to better absorb the fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) from our veggies. So adding a delicious dressing not only helps our veggies taste amazing, but can also make them more filling and helps our bodies get more nutrition from our meal - it's a win-win!    

This seems easy enough if you're having grilled fish with potatoes and salad for dinner, but what if you're having pizza? or spaghetti bolognese? This principle can be adapted to any meal, seriously! Below is what this can look like in action. 

Here we have a cabbage salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing, grilled sesame crusted salmon (just dip your salmon in sesame seeds prior to grilling, so easy and so delicious), and some steamed corn for the carbs. 

This is an oven roasted stuffed chicken breast, with steamed green beans, and roast sweet potato for carbs.  

A massive cabbage salad topped with cucumber, capsicum and carrot, tuna and feta for protein, and brown rice/quinoa mix for carbs. 

Another cabbage salad (gosh, I must enjoy cabbage salad!) with a mushroom and corn omelette, and a piece of toast with avo for carbs and healthy fats. I would have dressed this salad with a concoction of olive oil, balsamic, sesame oil and a little soy mixed in a jar. 

A balanced pizza!! A little light on protein, but a big leafy salad, with wholegrain pizza bases for carbs. 

A vietnamese noodle bowl - grated carrot and steamed green beans, with mince and rice noodles and some peanuts. This was dressed with a sweet chilli and soy style dressing. 

Veggie-filled spag bol - including mushrooms, carrots, capsicum, corn and lots of tomatoes, with pasta and grated cheese. This is my boyfriend's sized serving, but you get the idea. Make sure your bolognese sauce is filled with lots of veggies, or have a side salad or veggies to make sure you're having your half a plate/bowl of veg. 

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