We’re almost through the first quarter of the year and many of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. If you’re harbouring some guilt about abandoning your commitment to eat better this year, there’s no time like the present to revisit your goals and try again. However, instead of following a strict diet or a fad meal plan, focus on eating balanced meals. The advantage of simply aiming to eat balanced meals is that the possibilities are endless when it comes to ingredients. This way of eating is incredibly versatile and can be modified to suit any taste. So, what do they consist of? And how can you achieve consistency eating balanced meals?
What’s in a Balanced Meal
We all understand the importance of eating a balanced meal, but many of us aren’t sure what that really constitutes. Good news: it’s actually pretty simple! Half of a balanced meal is made up of vegetables, which pack fibre, vitamins and nutrients. A quarter is made up of protein, like canned tuna. Finally, a quarter is made up of whole grain carbohydrates, like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread, etc.
How to Eat Balanced Meals Consistently
Eating balanced meals consistently is one of the biggest challenges for most people. Sure, you probably eat well some or most of the time, but it’s not easy to keep it up all of the time. However, there are a few things you can do to make eating a balanced meal every time easier.
For starters, keep healthy foods you enjoy on hand. You’re much more likely to reach for something healthy if you don’t have to run to the store to get it. Keeping your fridge stocked with vegetables you like will make it much easier to add them to meals, whether they’re cooked or fresh. Having lean protein on hand in your freezer, fridge or pantry is also important. Finally, keep whole, dry carbohydrates, like quinoa, stocked in your pantry.
When you’re eating out, don’t be afraid to substitute sides or ingredients to make your meals healthier following the guidelines of half, quarter, and quarter.
Finally, spend some time modifying some of your favourite comforting recipes so they’re healthier, while still satisfying your craving. For example, substitute olive oil for butter and use spices for flavour rather than salt. Try using brown alternatives for foods like pasta, rice, and bread. Wherever possible, try to cut down on sugar and salt as well. When it comes to salt, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can adjust to using and eating less of it. Without compromising flavour, sugar can be replaced by some great natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.