A Guide for Creating Healthy, Balanced Meals

When it comes to eating healthy, fad diets and calorie counting can do more harm than good. Instead, look at what’s on your plate. Let this serve as a guide for creating healthy, balanced meals!

1/2 of your plate: Vegetables and fruits

Veggies should make up the major portion of your diet.They contain proteins, complex carbs, fibre, vitamins and minerals to keep you functioning. Organic veggies have about 20 percent more nutrients than non-organic veggies, and they have less pesticides, herbicides and harmful chemicals.
Veggies can be served as snacks, salads, side dishes, main dishes and juices. Cruciferous veggies are especially essential for detoxification and immunity – look for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and bok choy

1/4 of your plate: Protein

Protein is not just important for body builders. It promotes overall health, no matter your fitness goals. Your body needs protein for cell growth, repair and maintenance. Protein also helps with bodily processes like digestion, hormone production and muscle growth. Complete protein sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and quality protein powders.

1/4 of your plate: Complex carbohydrates

There are two types of carbohydrates: Complex and simple. Complex carbs like whole grain bread, whole grain pastas, potatoes and beans have a sustained release, slow uptake and easy metabolism of the sugars they contain. This means that your body will release digestive enzymes and insulin in a controlled manner, which helps with efficient metabolism.

On the other hand, simple carbs like sugar, biscuits, cakes, jams, lollies and soft drinks create a rapid release of sugar into your system. Your body responds by producing wild spikes of insulin, which can be stressful on your metabolism. Aim to eat complex carbs and keep the simple ones to a minimum.

Don’t forget water!

All your cells, tissues and organs rely on water to function, so staying hydrated is crucial. Aim to drink two to three litres per day – and fizzy drinks, caffeine and beer don’t count!

Do you need an oil change?

Good fats, known as omega essential fatty acids, support heart, brain, joint, skin and overall health. Foods high in essential fatty acids include avocados, nuts, seeds, eggs, salmon, ground flaxseed, tuna, full fat yoghurt and milk, parmesan cheese, and quality fish or krill oil supplements.

Source: Health 2000

For more nutrition advice, tips and recipes head along to the NZ Fitness & Health Expo, October 28-29 at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane.  And don’t miss the Nutrition Kitchen! Tickets available now at  www.nzfitnessexpo.co.nz