How do you begin eating a well balanced meal? Does it start with counting calories?…nope. What about the amount of fat…getting closer. How about eating a wide variety of whole foods, rich in colour, texture, taste, smell, pH and a plethora of other wonderful things…Yeppers!!!
♥ Macro nutrients = protein, carbohydrates and fats
♥ Micro nutrients = vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
♥ Food groups = fruit, veg, whole grains, protein, dairy, etc.
♥ Acidic vs. Alkaline foods
You can choose to follow all four guidelines, or pick and choose the ones that work for you. Let me explain to you a bit about each of them, so you can be well informed.
Let’s start off with the one that I feel creates the biggest impact and in my mind is the most important of the four.
As this awesome infographic illustrates, macronutrients are composed of protein, carbohydrates and fats. They each play a key role in keeping your body strong and energized, along with allowing it to repair itself. When it comes to choosing the right sources in each of these categories you want to try and have lean protein, simple or fibrous carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. Each meal should be made up of all three, this will not only give your body what it needs throughout the day but also keep you feeling full longer.
For example – at lunch have your lean chicken or turkey with a mixed green salad with avocado and apple cider vinegar dressing. If you’re a vegetarian, add a tbsp of hemp hearts or sunflower/pumpkin seeds in place of the meat.
When it comes to snacking I recommend having at least 2 of 3. For example, an apple and handful of walnuts is a great way to get your carb and protein, it actually has healthy fats as well, so bonus!!!
If you want specifics, here is the breakdown of how much of each you should consume each day.
These are exactly as they sound…micro or small. They are important to supporting your body so it can survive and thrive. Here are some quick definitions on each:
♥ Vitamins = an organic compound (meaning it contains carbon) and vital nutrients that the body requires in small quantities. They are classified as,
◊ Water Soluble – dissolve easily in water and are excreted readily by the body = Vitamin C & B complex (there are 8)
◊ Fat Soluble = dissolve in fat and are stored in the body tissue – Vitamin A, D, E & K
♥ Minerals are divided into 2 categories: Macrominerals (ie. sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium) & trace minerals (ie. iron, zinc, selenium) = both are needed for growth and health, things like helping maintain water balance and bone health.
♥ Phytonutrients = these are found in plant foods and are said to provide numerous health benefits and may help decrease disease when eaten in a wide variety.
Dr. Joel Furhman has over 25 years’ experience when it comes to teaching you how to eat well, losing weight, and maintain your health through proper nutrition. He is also the bestselling author of “Eat to Live”. So when it comes to re-classifying the food groups I like his new food pyramid best. This looks a little different from the one I learned growing up, how about you?
If you choose to continue to use a food pyramid to make sure you get all the nutrients you need, I recommend using this one.
The Acid vs. Alkaline way of categorizing food has been gaining more popularity over the last few years. With science telling us that our blood pH is just above neutral at 7.35-7.45, it has been studied and proven over and over again that when your body becomes acidic (<7) by eating certain foods, particularly the processed kind, disease and illness can take over. Knowing this fact, many people are choosing to let the pH of foods guide their way of eating.
In the end, what it comes down to is that there are many ways that you can choose to balance your meals. The most important take away is to choose the method that works best for you. I personally like to eat a wide variety of whole foods, that are in season and local. This allows me to balance my micros, so I can focus on getting my macros on each meal. By eating this way, I feel that I am following each of these guidelines.
Just remember to use the 80/20 rule of eating the best you can 80% of the time, so the other 20% shouldn’t create a negative impact. Happy balancing! xo