One of the biggest benefits to eating a real food diet is all of the nutrients you get from fresh, whole foods.
If you choose your food well, it will provide you with all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be healthy and strong.
But in our modern society, the trend is to leave out whole food groups because they are “bad” for you. This is simply not true and can lead to nutrient deficiencies in your body.
It used to be that low fat was all the rage, so people tried to eat as little fat as possible. But we now know that healthy fats are good for you and are needed for the body to function properly.
These days, many people are going on low carb diets. I’ll admit, I’ve been on several low carb diets. I lost weight and I like the food. I mean, bacon everyday. What’s not to like?
But when you decrease all carbs, you are decreasing healthy carbs like fruits and vegetables. These are high in nutrients and anti-aging chemicals that our bodies need.
So today, I want to talk about how to build balanced meals for your family so that they get all of the benefits possible from a real food lifestyle.
The 4 Elements of A Balanced Meal Explained
Protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones. It is also important for growth and development in kids and teens. Proteins may include meat, eggs, tofu, etc.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Without this nutrient, you may feel sluggish or depleted of energy. Carbs may include breads, cereals, rice, crackers, etc.
Although fruits and veggies contain carbs, they also contain key vitamins and minerals our bodies need daily. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh or frozen and come in many varieties.
Fats help your body absorb some vitamins and minerals. They’re also needed to build cell membranes and protect the nerves. Healthy fats may include olive oil, butter, full fat dairy, etc.
So in each meal, you should try to include each of these 4 elements.
What does that look like in practice?
Let me give you a few examples of balanced meals:
Eggs (protein), toast (carb), with butter (fat) and grapes (fruit)
Cereal (carb), with whole milk (protein & fat), with blueberries (fruit)
Ham sandwich (protein, fat and carb) with side salad (vegetables)
Grilled chicken salad (protein, vegetables) with dressing (fat) and croutons (carb)
Steak (protein & fat) with a baked potato (carb) and side salad (vegetable)
Chicken fajitas (protein & vegetables) cooked with olive oil (fat) and in a tortilla (carb)
These are just a few ideas. You can mix and match to your hearts content.
To get more healthy meal ideas for your family, check out this blog post —> 10 Last Minute Healthy Meals for Your Real Food Lifestyle.
And it doesn’t have to be perfect. You may have more carbs or more protein in lunch and then the opposite at dinner.
Just know that the more you mix and match these macro nutrients, the better off your overall health will be. Don’t overindulge in one for multiple meals at a time. Try to be as balanced as possible.
If you want ideas of what to put in your kids’ lunches for better nutrition, check out this blog post —> 10 Resources for Healthy School Lunch Ideas for Your Real Food Lifestyle.
You may find yourself eating more of one element when you’re stressed or emotional (most likely carbs or fat). If you see that you are doing that, try to mix in other elements with your next meal to make it more balanced.
After all, we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be perfect all the time. We just want to try our best not to leave whole food groups out or only eat one or two groups for the bulk of our meals.
Balance is key to a healthy, real food lifestyle.
What is the hardest element to get into your family meals? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!