What Goes into a Healthy Meal
Not all meals have to be pieced together, not all meals need to be a 1 pot wonder. You may have a recipe for turkey meatloaf and not know if that’s enough for dinner or if something else should accompany it. Not every meal is going to have all the parts that may be optimal and some people have different needs than others. That being said, the following is what a typical “plate” can include and this model will help you keep an optimal diet.
You may have heard of macronutrients. Macronutrients are the main large nutrients of our diet: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are all important, everyone has a different ratio of needs given these macronutrients. Some people need more carbohydrates, some people need less, some need more fat, some less, etc. Generally, when building a plate, it’s ideal to have protein, fat, carb, AND vegetables.
Protein: choose lean cuts of meat that are free of antibiotics and hormones. For example, wild fish, free-range eggs, legumes, and some sources of protein powders.
Carbohydrate: choose whole grains, root vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and limit or avoid sugar. (Different articles I’ve written talk about sports nutrition, which is a separate topic where sugar has its place).
Fat: choose healthy oils like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil (rarely people may need to watch this oil with high cholesterol).
Vegetables: choose as much color as possible, get variety, get quantity, choose frozen in the winter months if necessary, or just for convenience. Things like salads, roasted broccoli, mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice, stir fry with kale, peppers, onions, etc.
When you grab from each nutrient referenced above, you can start to build your plate. Here are some complete examples:
- Wild salmon, roasted root vegetables, salad with olive oil
- Fajitas- ground organic turkey/chicken, sauteed onion/bell peppers/kale, with salsa, and guacamole. Side of fresh arugula to accompany with olive oil.
- Cauliflower rice, black beans, roasted broccoli with coconut oil, fresh tomatoes/avocado on top
- Curry spiced cauliflower rice, red lentils, swiss chard, onion, coconut oil, with salad (mixed greens, cucumber, shredded cabbage, olive oil/lemon juice).
As mentioned earlier, you are not always going to have every single piece to this “plate” but this should serve as your guide to building a healthy meal.
D3’s Go-To Nutrionist Megan Dopp has over 20 years years of experience in the nutrition field and has adapted to all of its changes with research and education. She is passionate about learning what is best for each person and focuses on finding the root cause of problems.