This post is a guest post, the author is Dan Wadhwa, contributor of Nutrition Inspector. I like how Dan insists on not giving up anything in your diet (bye bye no carb, no fat, no fun). I clearly approve that philosophy!
What exactly is a balanced diet? A balanced meal consists of a nice ratio of macronutrients with a sprinkling of the micronutrients we need. We need fat, protein and carbohydrates, but as a society our diets are heavy on the carbohydrate side and the other two get neglected. Many people don’t get enough of the protein they need, and fats have been so demonized that sometimes they get skipped altogether.
While in general we’re not lacking on carbohydrate intake, we should shift our focus to healthier carb options to balance with fat and protein, and bringing the amount way down. There is no need to go carb free, if you’re choosing the right ones.
Here are 4 daily meal plans to get an idea of what your balanced meals should look like.
MEAL PLAN – DAY 1
- A spinach salad
- with vegetables of choice
- and topped with chicken
Choose a light flavorful dressing to go with your salad, not a creamy one loaded with calories. You can also add nuts, seeds or even fruit to your salad. The addition of meat and/or nuts will provide energy while the salad itself gives you a large dose of micronutrients.
- 2-3 carrots (or a handful of baby carrots)
- 2 tablespoons of hummus
Dip the carrots in the hummus for a delicious and healthy treat, a good mixture of minimal carbs with protein and fat.
- Spaghetti with meat or marinara sauce (watch your portions)
- Your choice of a vegetable side
The day was light in carbohydrates so you can have a comforting dinner. Whole wheat pasta is best for fiber, and a meat sauce or meatballs adds protein.
MEAL PLAN – DAY 2
- 2 slices of whole grain bread
- A few ounces of sliced turkey
- ¼ of an avocado, sliced
- A slice of tomato
Skip the sub place and make your own sandwich for lunch. Turkey and avocado are the meat of the sandwich providing protein and fat while the bread is full of fiber. Dress it up with any other toppings of your choice such as lettuce and a condiment.
- One serving of mixed nuts
It’s important to get fat for energy to push you through until dinner.
- 1 serving of fish
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli or asparagus
- A small baked potato
Don’t load your potato down with butter and sour cream, let the natural flavor shine through with some salt and pepper and a little bit of butter. A sweet potato works as well.
MEAL PLAN – DAY 3
- 1 serving of soup
Try to choose a soup with a lot of ingredients like a vegetable chicken noodle or minestrone. Soup is a great all-in-one lunch. Avoid canned soup when possible as they contain too much sodium. Soup with meat will keep you going throughout the day.
- 1 serving of dark chocolate
While it feels like an indulgence, dark chocolate provides a ton of health benefits and minerals, plus chocolate is a mood booster.
Make a stir fry!
- Protein: tofu, chicken, shrimp
- Vegetables: bell peppers, sugar snap peas, edamame, broccoli
- Brown rice
Stir fries are customizable to your taste for just about everything. You can buy many good sauces at the store, just check the ingredient list for nasty additives. There are also multiple recipes online that can be whipped together in just a minute or two. Make it however you like, just keep your vegetables colorful, that ensures you have a good mix of vitamins.
MEAL PLAN – DAY 4
- Tuna salad
- Whole grain toast (optional)
Mix a can of tuna with some mashed avocado for a mayo-free tuna salad that is still delicious, and season to taste. Turn it into a sandwich or eat it plain.
- Several stalks of celery
- Nut butter or hummus
Celery is an extremely low-calorie snack that is an amazing vessel for a delicious dip full of protein and fat.
- Homemade whole wheat pizza
You can often find premade dough in a ball at the store that just needs to be stretched out and baked, or make your own from scratch. Skip the dough in a can. Top with some crushed tomatoes, seasonings and cheese. Choose whatever toppings you like, be as creative as possible.
Was this meal plan helpful to you ? Tell me !
Author: Emilie Durand
Emilie is a French food lover, proud Parisian and founder of thefrenchwaytohealth.com. On her website, she shares delicious recipes, health tips and tricks. Her goal is to gather and share the habits and rules that have been used and approved by French people for decades. That means cooking your own meals efficiently, enjoying whole foods, eating mindfully and never ever using the word diet again while losing weight.