Food FAQs II. The Ultimate Guide To Balanced Meals

Whether I am making a breakfast, dinner or a snack, all of my meals follow a similar pattern that aims for similar macros which enable me to have a balanced nutrition throughout the whole day and thanks to that I don’t have to fear any unexpected hunger or cravings. This is something that I learned through macro counting but I also don’t think that it’s necessary to count the macros as long as you understand what different food groups consist of and how they affect your overall intake.

This also enables you to get creative with your meals and combine these components in different ways. Which is why this approach will never get boring and there is absolutely no need for you to follow a rigid ‘meal plan’.

Breakfast

Include a good amount of protein: protein powder, greek yoghurt, egg white, eggs, cottage cheese, ham, smoked salmon, bacon;

Moderate amount of carbohydrates: oats, fruit, granola, bread;

Some healthy fats: nut butter, nuts and seeds, avocado;

Examples:

  • porridge with protein powder, peanut butter and a small amount of berries;
  • greek yoghurt with (10-20g) of granola, some fruit and nut butter;
  • smoothie bowl made from a half of a banana, frozen mango, unsweetened almond milk, egg white, protein powder and topped with (5-10g) of granola and cocoa nibs;
    – An example of a similar but not very balanced meal: smoothie bowl made from two bananas, frozen berries, hazelnut milk, topped up with more fruit and granola; (very high in carbs and sugar, almost no protein or fats)



Lunch and dinner

Protein: chicken, tuna, salmon, beef, eggs, bacon,

Carbs: It depends whether I choose to have both lunch and dinner moderately high in carbs or have one higher in carbs while the other one is just a big salad; I usually opt for the second option when this is also going to be my postworkout meal in which case I have potatoes, rice or noodles;

But if I am going for moderate carbs for both I still add some, I usually keep the amount coming from these around 100-150kcal, for example, quinoa, couscous, pulses such as beans or chickpeas (NOTE: adds some protein as well);

Fats: cheese (feta, halloumi, goat’s cheese or any other cheese – NOTE: adds a little bit of protein as well); avocado, hummus, olive/walnut/coconut oil)

Vegetables to provide micronutrients and promote satiety: always a bed of greens, for example, spinach, rocket or lettuce, then either salad veggies such as tomato, cucumber and peppers or roasted veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower or brussel sprouts;

Examples:

  • chicken salad with red kidney beans, a little bit of feta and a little bit of lower fat hummus;
  • tuna salad with couscous, avocado and olives;
  • 200g of baked potatoes, chicken, roasted veggies, some cheese;
  • a toast with avocado, feta and poached eggs, veggies on the side
    – An example of a similar but not very balanced meal: salad veggies with chickpeas, butternut squash, goat’s cheese and a crispbread (very little protein, not very much fat A.K.A. you’ll be hungry very soon)

Snacks

Protein: Greek yoghurt, making treats and baking with protein powder and egg white

Carbs: Fruit, granola, ingredients used in baking which is usually oats instead of flour; bakery, crumpets etc.

Fats: nut butter, raw chocolate, avocado, coconut yoghurt

I usually treat my afternoon snacks as opportunities for dessert and this is where I usually have more carbs as well which is allowed by the fact that my lunch carb intake is not that high. Sometimes, I might plan my dinner beforehand so I know how many treats I can have during the afternoon or sometimes I eat what I feel like and then wing the dinner with whatever I have left, which is always something reasonable. And if, for some reason, I went batshit crazy with afternoon treats I can still balance it with a big salad for dinner with a lot of protein.

But when making snacks, desserts and baking treats I always try to incorporate a good amount of protein in a form of protein powder or egg whites or Greek yoghurt. 

Examples: 

  • homemade protein bites
  • avocado and red kidney brownies
  • baked french toast crumpet with egg whites and topped with greek yoghurt and peanut butter
  • a chocolate smoothie with protein powder, fruit and nuts
  • greek yoghurt with nut butter and granola

Healthy food is not boring, get creative!

Sunshine Susan

xxx

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