The Importance of well-balanced meals
So why bother eating a well-balanced diet and good healthy meals? Simple, eating well balanced meals plays a key role in sustaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. It can make you feel better, look better and even give you that extra oomph in your life to make yourself more successful. Think of your body like a car for a second, if you don’t put in the correct fuel, oil and water, the engine isn’t going to work. Our bodies are exactly the same.
To understand the importance of having well balanced meals we first need to look at what exactly it is that makes a meal well balanced. To do this were going to break our food down into three main categories: Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.
First off let’s start off with what each category does.
Protein – Your body uses protein to build, maintain and replace the muscular tissue. Your organs, muscles and immune system as well as many other parts of your body are in fact made up mostly of protein. Protein is also used by the body to make the haemoglobin which carries oxygen around your body as well as keeping the heart itself happy and healthy – Our main sources of protein are Meats, Eggs, some dairy products, fish, nuts and some legumes.
Carbohydrates – The body’s main use for carbohydrates is as an energy source. There are two forms of carbohydrates the simple or ‘short strain’ carbs and the complex or ‘starchy’ carbs. Short strain carbs are found in things like refined sugar or sweets and normally aren’t a key factor when looking at a well-balanced meal. On the other hand complex carbs like pasta’s, rice, potatoes and wholegrain bread are definitely a key ingredient in a good meal.
Fats – When most people see the word FAT they instantly panic and try and avoid it. However fat is needed in your diet and is definitely needed to make a meal well balanced. Our bodies use fats as a source of energy, to help the brain and nervous system function properly, to form hormones in the body as well as maintaining healthy skin and other bodily tissues. There are three main types of fats, Unsaturated, saturated and ‘trans fats’. For the purpose of looking at making a balanced meal were going to say yes to unsaturated fats: these are found in nuts, fish, olives, avacado’s and vegetable oils. As for saturated fats which are found in things like meat, cheese, milk etc , these are ok to eat but in moderation, but normally found as an excess in our foods, rather than being a key ingredient. Trans fats on the other hand are a big NO when it comes to well balanced meals, these are found in margarine, some readymade meals and any food where you see the words ‘Hydrogenated’ – So steer clear of these.
We now know that to make a well balanced meal we need to have a source of protein, a form of complex carbohydrate and some good fats. We also know that we need to eat fruit and veg so don’t forget those ! Were now going to bring another point to the table..quantities and portion size. A lot of the meals we as ‘the general public’ consume nowadays are very carbohydrate heavy, for example, pizza’s, pastas, fast foods, even easy to make meals at home such as chips, cereal and even the sandwiches, crisps and snacks you put in your children’s packed lunches are all carbohydrate based. If you pick up ready meals in supermarkets that are marked ‘lowfat’ you presume they are healthy, however you will probably find that these foods are very high in short strain carbohydrates. This is what we want to avoid, high carb meals don’t make a well balanced meal and for 90% of people the high carbs will be stored and not used efficiently.
So what do we need to make a well balanced meal?
A good form of protein – Eggs, Chicken, Lean Mince, Beef, Cottage Cheese and Fish.
A form of COMPLEX carbohydrates (NOT SUGARS) – Rice, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Wholegrain Bread
A good form of fat – Nuts, Fish, Avocado
It’s also good to get in our Fruit and Veg but we all know that!
So there we are,it’s as simple as that! You now know what it takes to make a well-balanced meal and with the correct portions it can make huge change to the way you feel and the way you look. To get you going here’s a few examples of what awell-balanced meal might consist of – And don’t feel overwhelmed if there’s foods you don’t normally eat, remember if we want to look and feel better we need to be willing to make changes!
- Poached eggs on whole seeded toast with avocado and an apple.
- Chicken and Nut salad with couscous.
- Wholegrain pasta with lean mince and a fresh garden salad.
- Pan fried fish with roasted sweet potatoes and vegetables.
Also try this as another added incentive to eating well.
Make a note of how you feel when you do eat healthy as opposed to when you eat ready meals and high carb meals, I’m sure over time you will see a pattern. If losing weight is a goal for you then track your weight every fortnight and take pictures so you can look back and see how well you’ve done!
Thank you for reading, good luck and have a great day!
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By: AJ Hutchinson
Hi I'm Aj. I am a Fitness/Commercial Model at Rep Apparel. I will be writing about health & nutrition and giving on tips on how to keep fit.