- Why should we focus on balanced meals instead of calories?
- How do balanced meals help you lose weight?
- What are some examples of balanced meals?
Balanced meals help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Why? Balanced meals meet your body’s energy and nutritional needs. Then you feel full and your body can function properly. If you don’t eat enough of each type of food your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. We’re built to survive! And when you’re hungry it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. Take care of your body and mind. Get in the habit of eating balanced meals.
When you build healthy habits you naturally reach and maintain a healthy weight.
I lost weight naturally by eating balanced meals
When I was struggling to lose weight everything I ate was low-fat this and diet that. Instead of focusing on eating balanced meals, I got caught up in calorie counting. I only thought about numbers.
After 10 years of making eating complicated, feeling hungry all the time and gaining weight instead of losing it, I went back-to-the-basics. I began eating 3 balanced meals a day. To my surprise I lost around 30 pounds. And I was full between meals so I could focus on the people and projects I care about. Understanding why balanced meals are so important makes it easier to make good choices and build healthy habits.
What are balanced meals?
When a meal includes food from every food group in the correct proportions, it’s a balanced meal.
The Eatwell Guide shows the types of food and proportions that make balanced meals.
Balanced meals are made up of:
- fruit and vegetables
- potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
- oil and spreads
- dairy and alternatives
- beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
Balanced meals include all the nutrients and energy your body requires to do its incredible jobs.
You feel satisfied when you eat balanced meals. Then you stop feeling hungry and thinking about food. When you only eat one type of food, even if it’s a large amount and many calories worth of food, you’ll still feel hungry. Why? Because you haven’t met all your body’s nutrient requirements.
Focus on nutrients rather than calories! Eat balanced meals.
Why your body needs food from every food group
Each food group serves a different and important purpose. Here are a few examples:
fruits and vegetables
reduce risk of chronic diseases
source of fiber for regular bowel movements
bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
source of energy
source of fiber for regular bowel movements
milk and diary foods
source of calcium to keep bones and teeth strong
help the body grow and repair
meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
source of iron (iron makes red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body)
source of protein to make muscle, organs and skin
food and drinks high in fat
transport vitamins through the blood stream
proper functioning of nerves and brain
Balanced meals make meeting your nutrient needs easy
Food guidelines suggest you try to get the balance right over the course of a day. But I find eating 3 meals a day that include every food group in roughly the correct proportion, the easiest way to meet my body’s nutrient requirements. And thus, the easiest way to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Making breakfast, lunch and dinner balanced makes me feel satisfied. Then I can focus on life between meals rather than grazing throughout the day and keeping track of what I eat.
What are some examples of balanced meals?
I just make rough estimates when I make balanced meals. For example, today I had the following for lunch: peanut butter and banana on a bagel, an apple and a latte with 2% milk. That roughly covers every food group. It’s not perfect, but I do my best not to get lost in the details. Good enough has helped me maintain a healthy weight for 16 years and focus on the other things in my life that I love.
This is my first jar of a more natural peanut butter. I really like it. I try to eat food in it’s most natural state. Whole foods also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Here’s a recipe that makes an easy balanced meal made mostly of whole foods.
Now, instead of counting calories, I just visualize the Eatwell Guide and use it as a rough guideline.
This song is about an ex-lover (I think). But consider it in terms of breaking up with all the diet rules, tips and tricks in your head ” … take off all the thoughts of what we’ve been…” Then focus on eating balanced meals.
Trojans by Atlas Genius
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
What are some of your favourite balanced meals?