Today’s blog will be about building healthy meals. I saw this handout on choosemyplate.gov and thought that it was a great tool that everyone can use to make their meals a little healthier. The handout includes 10 helpful steps to successfully building a healthy meal.
Link to Choosemyplate.gov handout.
Tip #1: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
I personally used to struggle with this one when I was in high school because I was more into convenience items. But since I went to college and have been cooking for myself many years now, I’ve learned that there are so many different ways you can incorporate fruits and veggies into each meal.
Tip #2: Include whole grains
I do encourage everyone that I encounter to incorporate whole grains into their meals. Most people go to whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice because they are main staples of meals. But I like to give suggestions such as popcorn, granola bars, some cereals, corn and oatmeal (including oatmeal cookies (: I’m not a fan of whole grain pasta and rice so I choose other alternatives so that I still incorporate it into my diet.
Tip #3: Don’t forget the dairy
This one I struggle with because I am lactose intolerant so I buy lactose free milk for cereal which helps me get dairy but I don’t like the way milk tastes so I never just drink a cup of milk. I have tried many variations of yogurt but I just can’t get into it so I depend on getting most of my dairy from cheese. I love cheese and put it in everything!
Tip #4: Add lean protein
Choosing lean protein is a very important part of each meal and gives your body well needed nutrients for your muscles and cells to do your daily activities of life, as well as during exercise. My favorite protein sources are eggs, chicken, and turkey.
Tip #5: Avoid extra fat
There’s a stigma on fats but your body actually needs fat in order to function. What matters is the source of the fats consumed. Fats coming from vegetables such as olive and soybean oil are better alternatives than butter and lard. Focus on polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats and limit saturated fats.
Tip #6: Get creative in the kitchen
Try adding different more veggies or nuts to a dish and see how colorful and appealing it can become. Maybe try adding fruits to a salad to give it extra crunch and refreshing sweetness.
Tip #7: Take control of your food
I like to cook more than going out because I know exactly what is in my food and who is preparing it. I season it exactly how I want it and know the outcome will be pleasing each time.
Tip #8: Try new foods
I love to try new recipes and sauces to add to the dishes that I have already mastered to add a little variation to the menu. I also like to look at other cuisines and see what I would like to try or tweak.
Tip #9: Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
I have a HUGE sweet tooth so I have learned how to satisfy it in healthier ways over the years. I do very much enjoy fruits but I have never been one who could eat fruit for dessert. I usually like to eat something such as a sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon, or rice with cinnamon and brown sugar. One dessert that never fails me is CEREAL! I love cereal and there are so many different kinds, it’s kind of impossible to get tired of eating it. Cereals are a lot more nutrient dense now which makes them a healthier alternative than a donut (of which I also like very much).
Tip #10: Everything you eat and drink matters
Making small changes each day makes a huge difference down the line. You don’t even have to do it every meal, but at least doing it every day will encourage you to keep going so that one day you will be making changes for each meal.
What tips do you have for building a healthy meal? I’d love to hear all about them!
I hope you all have a great day and enjoy the sunshine (:
Be happy and smile,