How to Make Healthy Meals for a New and Improved You
Consistently consuming healthy meals can heighten energy levels, improve overall health, encourage longevity, and lead to possible weight loss. But preparing them may be less-than-frequent if you are unknowledgeable on how to craft balanced meals, and hunger gaps may be filled with quick drive thru runs or pizza deliveries. Give the delivery guy a break and learn how to make healthy meals here!
Load Up On Veggies
Loading up on veggies offers fiber, valuable vitamins and minerals, and volume to meals. Consume at least one cup of raw or a half cup of cooked veggies with meal, including a bowl loaded up with salad greens or half the plate comprised of a roasted veggie blend, ultimately aiming for at least three to five servings per day. Additionally, while starchy veggies are still beneficial, individuals are encouraged to mostly include non-starchy varieties. Starchy and non-starchy veggies are broken down below.
• Starchy Veggies: corn, lima beans, peas, pumpkin, squash, russet and sweet potatoes
• Non-starchy Veggies: artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, peppers, salad greens
Select A Protein
Protein is touted as a dieter's ticket to weight loss, as the macronutrient helps encourage satiety and facilitate lean body mass. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is 56 grams a day for men and 46 grams for women, though age, activity level, injury and illness can also manipulate protein needs. Individuals should always include a lean or plant-based protein with meals and snacks, as it also helps to induce satiety to keep the belly fuller longer.
• Animal Proteins
Choose lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, beef, tuna, salmon, and shrimp. Ultimately, when selecting animal proteins, select leaner cuts such as tenderloin and sirloin, along with reducing sources that are battered and fried.
• Plant-Based Proteins
Plant-based sources include tofu and tempeh, edamame, beans, and nuts and seeds and extremely valuable for those reducing or completely eliminating animal meats. And along with supplying protein, they also tend to supply an ample supply of fiber.
Complement with Healthy Fats
Complement healthy meals with a healthy fat. Sources rich in monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids offer satiety to meals while offering antioxidant properties and showing to be cardio-protective. Swap butter with olive or canola oil in cooking and add nuts and seeds for a healthy crunch. Avocadoes, fatty fish, and other vegetable oils are also considered as healthy fats.
Opt for Whole Grains
Let refined, processed grains take the backseat and opt for whole grains. Unlike their highly refined counterparts, whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and significant part of a well-balanced diet. Pair meals with a whole grain source, including brown and wild rice, quinoa, barley, corn, and oats.
While that large slice of apple pie may be hard to pass up, regularly indulging on sugary products can pack on unnecessary calories. Instead of consuming heaping loads of sugar, enjoy naturally-sweetened fruit to help detour that pesky sweet tooth. Additionally, you can also healthify and mimic such desserts, including that apple pie, by warming up sliced apples and sprinkling with cinnamon. Bananas and dark chocolate and fresh berries and yogurt are additional nutrient-dense, sweet pairings!
Milk, cheeses, and yogurts contain lactose, a naturally-occurring sugar in dairy products. Dairy products are also excellent sources of calcium and provide ample amounts of protein. When choosing dairy products, be sure to pay attention to the ingredient and nutrition label. For example, Greek yogurt varieties may be loaded with additional sugars. However, if diagnosed with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance, soymilk is nondairy alternative that also supplies protein and calcium. Additional sources of calcium include kale, spinach, okra, and foods that are fortified with calcium, including orange juice and breakfast cereals.