Here are my quick and no-so-dirty 😉 tips on balanced eating. These apply to dining out, eating on-the-run and also eating at home.

The big picture, overall goal is to get a balance and variety of healthy foods in your meal. Aim to get a nice balance of protein, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats in your meal in reasonable, moderate portions.

Indulge me for a moment – let’s get a little new-agey and visualize your dinner plate. Visualize getting these types of foods in these proportions in your meal/plate:

  • Vegetables (non-starchy): 50% of your meal; aim for at least 2 different colorful veggies/fruit for your meal; examples:
    • Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts
    • Leafy greens: lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, collards
    • Root vegetables: beets, carrots, parsnips, celery root, turnips, rutabegas
    • Other veggies: peppers, mushrooms, summer squash, tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, eggplant, etc.
    • Fruit: whole fruit not juice (limit to 1 serving of fruit maximum per meal)
  • Protein: 25% of your meal; good sources:
    • Fish and seafood
    • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, peanut butter)
    • Nuts and seeds; nut and seed butters (tahini, sunflower butter, almond butter)
    • Plant-based protein: tofu, tempeh
    • Poultry: chicken, turkey
    • Eggs (yes, eggs are a good source of protein!)
    • Lean or extra-lean meat: beef, lamb, pork – limit to a few portions per week maximum; grass-fed is best
    • Dairy: plain yogurt, milk or small portion of cheese (cheese should not be your main protein for the meal)
  • Whole grains or starchy vegetables: 25% of meal; good sources:
    • Whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, black rice, red rice, wild rice, oats
    • Whole grains that are a little more processed but still fairly healthy:
      • Sprouted bread, whole wheat bread
      • Whole wheat pasta
      • Noodles: some varieties contain brown rice or other whole grains
    • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash (butternut squash, acorn, kabocha, delicata, pumpkin)
      • Winter squash in particular gets a thumbs up! It is high in antioxidants and lower on the glycemic index than potatoes so it’s a better choice for blood sugar control
  • Healthy fats: include a good source in your meal:
    • Cold-water fatty fish or seafood – wild is best (also a good source of protein)
      • Alaskan salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, mussels, oysters
    • Nuts, seeds, nut butter or seed butter like peanut butter or tahini (also a good source of protein)
    • Other sources: avocado, olives, extra-virgin olive oil, non-GMO canola oil

Finally, a quick word about hydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, so have water or another type of healthy beverage with your meal. This could be something unsweetened or low in added or natural sugars. Examples are filtered water, sparkling water, tea, coffee, kombucha. You want to minimize having excessive sugar or alcohol. If you want a drink that has alcohol, keep it to 1 drink and enjoy it slowly throughout your meal. Broths, soup, fruit and veggies can also provide some hydration because they contain water.

Together, all of these elements combine to create a filling and satisfying meal.

Make sense? Everything is simpler when you break it down into the essential parts. Use this blog post as your daily guide – tack it to your fridge or pin it to your phone or desktop so you can refer back to it again and again.

Wishing you your best health everyday,