- Easy balanced meal vs. low-fat food
- Make your meals look like the Eatwell Guide
- Recipe for an easy balanced meal
Choose an easy balanced meal over low-fat processed foods.
I lost weight when I started eating balanced meals
In my 2nd year of university I made a change. By then, I was completely confused by diet rules, tips and tricks. So I went back-to-the-basics. I rejoined the school meal plan. Then focused on making my plate look like the Eatwell Guide. In other words, I ate whole foods from each food group in the recommended proportions.
Why the Eatwell Guide focuses on whole foods
The added salt, sugar and fat in processed foods make it hard to know when to stop eating. Whereas balanced meals made of whole foods fill you up naturally so that you don’t overeat. They also fill you up longer. Why? Because when you eat natural food your body has to do the processing! When you feel satisfied you can focus on everything else. It’s hard to concentrate when you’re hungry. When you understand the difference between whole and processed food and how they effect your body, it’s easier to choose an easy balanced meal over low-fat food.
Try this recipe for an easy balanced meal
Now I do my own cooking. To be accurate, I usually do the washing up as my partner loves to cook. While we like trying new and more involved recipes when there’s time, most days we choose a recipe we can prepare quickly. But the focus is always eating something from every food group and using the most natural ingredients possible.
Sometimes it’s literally meat, potatoes and a salad with cheese (to cover the dairy food group) along with a home-made salad dressing. Even if it’s just oil and vinegar. We also have some easy balanced meals that are our go-to recipes. Recently my mother-not-in-law visited us from England. She gave us a cookbook titled: A Girl Called Jack.
Less sexy cooking helps you reach a healthy weight
I love this cookbook because the recipes are fast, easy, cheap and use regular ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
The author is Jack Monroe. Her cookbook is based on recipes she created when she and her baby son were trying to survive on a 10 pound weekly food budget (that’s about $20 Canadian). In her cookbook she states:
…cooking at home needs to be presented as less glossy, less sexy, less intimidating and more accessible, more about what you can make from what’s in the cupboard, to spend less, reduce waste, and knock up a meal in ten minutes when you get home from work, or when you have a toddler tugging on your leg.
-Jack Monroe, author and campaigner on poverty issues
What an awesome cooking philosophy!
Easy balanced meal made of regular ingredients
Here’s a recipe I’ve been making a lot.
Mumma Jack’s Best Ever Chili
1 X 400g tin of the baked beans, kidney beans and chopped tomatoes
1 diced onion, small chopped chili & vegetable stock cube
75ml of red wine
3 squares of dark chocolate (what!?)
a shake of cumin and paprika
a splash of oil
Put onion, chopped chili, cumin and paprika in a large sauté pan. Add the oil and cook on low heat until the onion softens.
Pour in the wine, crumble in the stock cube and add the chopped tomato. Simmer on low heat.
Drain beans and add to the sauce along with chocolate. Stir. Serve when heated through.
N.B. Jack’s recipe suggests rinsing the tomato sauce off the baked beans but I don’t. I also add a can of chickpeas. The chocolate didn’t appeal to me but it works! Double this recipe to make enough for another night.
Turn this recipe into an easy balanced meal:
Add broccoli, serve on rice and add a dollop of (not low-fat) Greek Yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese, along with a little pepper.
Here are more of Jack Monroe‘s recipes.
If you like cooking with the music on, give this song a whirl. The lyrics are “Love’s not a hard thing to find.” Just like the ingredients in this recipe.
Hard thing to find, by Royal Wood
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
What’s your favourite easy balanced meal?