Three components of a balanced meal
- Mel’s weekly food pick:
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
Last week I revealed ten Nourish Guidelines to help you plan your meals and snacks and touched upon the first two: the importance of eating three daily meals and when to add snacks (if at all).
Nourish Guideline #1: Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
Nourish Guideline #2: Only eat a snack if more than 4 to 5 hours pass between meals, or if you are physically hungry.
Today, in Nourish Guidelines #3 and #4, you will learn more about meal planning and how to build your very own energizing and satisfying PeaceMeals, with plenty of Earthfoods, Healthy Protein, and Healthy Fat.
Nourish Guideline #3: Add at least 3 Earthfoods to each of your meals to make a PeaceMeal
Earthfoods are the foods we all know we should be eating more of: single ingredient, unprocessed, health-empowering, nutrient-rich foods from the earth. Simply put, they are the foods your body was designed to eat and truly longs for. They are powerful beyond measure and include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, legumes, herbs, spices, cacao, green tea and many others.
To learn more about Earthfoods, including portion sizes and how to form a PeaceMeal, click HERE.
Nourish Guideline #4: Balance your PeaceMeal with Healthy Fat and Healthy Protein
In the eighth Universal Truth, you learned about the importance of healthy dietary fat on blood sugar regulation, satiety (feelings of fullness), and overall health.
Healthy Fat alone will not spike your blood sugar or insulin levels, therefore it stands to reason that Healthy Fat added to meals will slow the release of glucose in the blood and keep overall blood sugar levels more stable. For this reason, it is essential that you build one to three servings of Healthy Fat into each of your PeaceMeals.
Sometimes you will add it in the cooking process, such as roasting Brussels sprouts in coconut oil, and other times you will be incorporating fats into your meal, like adding a tablespoon of fresh ground almond butter and a half of an avocado to your kale and blueberry smoothie. Without the fat, the smoothie would not be as satisfying.
You do not necessarily have to add more fat to a meal when you eat foods naturally containing fat…unless it makes sense. For example, a breakfast of full-fat (4% milkfat) cottage cheese and berries contains plenty of fat in the cottage cheese, therefore you don’t have to add anymore (although, I like to sprinkle some raw sunflower seeds in mine for a little crunch!).
For a list of Healthy Fats, along with reasonable portion sizes, click HERE! Notice how several Healthy Fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, also double as an Earthfood!
Adding one serving of high quality, Healthy Protein to each of your meals is also key for good health and blood sugar management. Healthy Proteins include:
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils: ½ cup cooked
- Hummus: ¼ cup
- Seafood: sardines, mackerel, herring, wild salmon, anchovies, tuna, and trout: 3-6 ounces
- Organic, grass fed beef; organic free-range chicken, turkey, and lamb: 3-6 ounces
- Cottage cheese (full fat): ½ cup
- Plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt (full fat): ½ cup
- Eggs-free range, organic: 1 egg
- Plant-based or bone broth protein powder: ½-1 scoop
- Tempeh (fermented soy): 3 ounces
Putting it all together: Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad (see below for recipe)
This tasty and simple salad illustrates how easy it is to form a balanced meal. Due to the varied portion sizes of the ingredients, it contains approximately four Earthfoods, one Healthy Fat, and two Healthy Proteins.
- Earthfoods: lentils, greens, blueberries, almonds, basil
- Healthy Fat: almonds, olives
- Healthy Protein: hummus, lentils
I know I’ve been talking a lot about proper nutrition lately, and yet this feels like the perfect time to say what I’m about to say.
So here goes….
There is something unsettling about a diet full of only healthy food, sort of like the body craves a little bit of fun every once in awhile. Can you relate?
Before I move on to any more proper nutrition-related guidelines, in my next post I will show you how to build imperfection into your meal plan (and why it’s perfectly acceptable to do so!). You’re going to love this one!
Mel’s weekly food pick:
Whenever someone challenges me with the “it’s too expensive to eat healthy” line, I immediately introduce them to the beloved bags of lonely lentils hanging out in the bean aisle of their grocery store.
Lentils are edible legumes, grown for their lens-shaped seeds. They have been part of the human diet since the Neolithic times and evidence shows they were eaten 13,000 to 9,500 years ago. They range in color from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black
Not only are lentils high in antioxidants (inflammation-fighting substances), they are loaded with dietary fiber, iron, and protein– making them a perfect substitute for meat and oh so good for your blood sugar and cholesterol levels!
How to eat them:
Boil up an entire bag on Sunday (takes only 20 minutes and requires no soaking) and refrigerate in a sealed container. Add a couple of spoonfuls to salads, soups, tuna or egg salad, or omelets.
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
OK, I admit…this meal doesn’t look like it could satisfy a mouse, does it? But I have to tell you…it packs a serious punch, without making you feel stuffed. And since most of us want to be productive after lunch, this salad is the perfect solution.
It gets its “staying power” from the protein and fiber-rich lentils and fat-rich hummus– which is made from chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini (ground sesame seeds).
Looking for a little extra protein? Add a couple ounces of pulled rotisserie chicken, wild salmon, or tuna. A chopped hard-boiled egg would work too!
You can easily prepare this salad ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch. Enjoy!