What do healthy meals look like? Do not be put off by the idea of planning healthy meals because it is simpler than you may think. The guideline for daily caloric intake for men is 2,500 calories and for women 2,000 calories.
Healthy meals do not have to be bland and boring, in fact, they are quite the contrary. Healthy meals can be vibrant, colorful, and tasty. Some healthy meals give their unhealthy counterparts a run for their money.
We will give you simple ideas for healthy lifestyle meal preparation. You will be blown away by the multitude of meals that is available to you for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Here are a few guidelines to consider when planning meals:
- consider high fiber intake in your meals
- incorporate whole wheat carbohydrates (whole wheat pasta)
- limit one starchy food source with each main meal
- eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- have at least two fish dishes per week (salmon, trout, herring, sardines, mackerel)
- cut down on saturated fats
A word about fats
It is best to cut down on saturated fats. The daily recommended intake for men is 30g and for women is 20g. A diet full of saturated fats can affect your health negatively, especially your heart (clog arteries).
Some examples of saturated fats are sausages, butter, hard cheeses, and lard. It is wise to replace unhealthy oils with healthier ones. Instead of corn or canola oils, use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
Breakfast a meal for champions!
Breakfast is a successful start to your day. Start your day the right way, and do not skip this important meal. If you are running late, a quick homemade smoothie will do.
Just throw in some fresh fruits in your blender, and in a matter of 2 minutes, you can have a delicious smoothie as you head out the door. On weekends and for days when you have more time, enjoy a nice mushroom omelet or breakfast burrito with vegetables of your choice.
Meat lovers, there´s some good news for you. You can have your steak and eat it too. Make sure you get grass-fed beef. Chicken, turkey, venison, buffalo, lamb, and veal can be part of your balanced diet.
Meat offers some fascinating health benefits. Meat consumption prevents anemia and reduces the risk of insomnia. Pregnant women can also benefit from adequate amounts of meat in their diet, as it provides nutrients that protect the fetus against congenital diseases.
Meats contain an ample supply of zinc, selenium, and iron, along with many other nutrients your body needs.
The health benefits of fish are astounding. Fish provides many nutrients that your body lacks. Fish is a heart and brain-friendly food as it plays a vital role in your body and brain functions; it also lowers the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Studies show that people who eat one serving of fish per week lower their risk of heart disease by 15%. Fish consumption also slows down the rate of mental decline as you age.
Studies also show that people who eat fish regularly have a lower rate of depression. It is best to have at least two fish dishes per week.
(An ideal weekly meal should have at least two fish dishes, two meat dishes, and three vegetable dishes). Eat fish that are rich in Omega 3-fatty acids such as salmon, (a small 4 oz serving of salmon provides 100% vitamin D) cod, (prevents depression) trout, and sardines.
It is best to buy fresh fish or fish from the can. Avoid smoked fish as there is a link to smoked fish/meats and cancer. Hint keep it fresh!
Vegetables supersize me!
The sky is the limit with this food group; the more the merrier. Vegetables should be your best friend. Most of your meals should come from vegetables.
Vegetables are versatile. You can saute, steam, roast, grill, or put them in the oven. You can experiment by mixing your favorite vegetables. Try to make a dish with vegetables from seven to eight different colors.
You can enjoy heavenly snacks. Freshly cut fruits and vegetables are a big hit, especially if you mix and match them. Here´s a list of some easy snack ideas:
Chopped carrots, celery, and cucumber with hummus dip (you can also have it without the dip)
Avocado on crackers
Olives and cheese
Tuna and crackers
Goat cheese stuffed peppers
Grilled vegetables with dip (hummus/guacamole)
Corn and bean salsa with dip
Pita bread with hummus, tomato, onion, and lettuce
Egg salad sandwich
Dark chocolate, banana, and walnuts
Yogurt and berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, currants)
Chopped celery, peanut butter, and raisins
Fresh fruits and nuts (cashews, macadamia, walnuts, almond, Brazilian nuts)
Cottage cheese with sliced apples
Apples and peanut butter
Need a lift during your day? Here are some natural energy-producing foods.
They are full of fiber, healthy fats, proteins, and unrefined carbohydrates,
- dark chocolate
- chia seeds
- sweet potatoes
- seeds (pumpkin, flaxseed)
- Greek yogurt
- brown rice
- leafy green vegetables
- brown bread
You can have fun planning your meals and snacks. Snacks from vegetables and fruits are relatively easy as you only need to cut them in most instances.
Most of your meals should come from fruits and vegetables.
It is easy to experiment with fruits and vegetables since you can also prepare them without extensive cooking. Plus, you never know what you may come up with when you experiment and try new things.
Variety plays a substantial role in a healthy lifestyle meal. It ensures that your body gets the most vitamins and minerals from several sources. Remember to eat meat and fish dishes in moderation.
You can indulge in vegetables and fruits as they are the most important in healthy meals. Meal planning can be adventurous and fun.
Go ahead! Go into your kitchen and let the magic begin!