The Building Blocks of a Super Healthy Diet And…a sample meal plan
I know, I know… • Most people know how to eat healthy, and know that they should — it’s just that when it comes down to implementing this knowledge, there’s a bridge that needs to be crossed from knowledge to action.
But How??? • How do you actually eat healthy, instead of just knowing that you should eat healthy?
Now, there are three parts of that solution, if you look closely, and all three parts are equally important: • Create a meal plan. Without this, you’ll just know what to eat, vaguely, but you need to actually make a plan and implement it (meaning, go shopping for the foods in the plan and actually cook the foods and eat them). • Super healthy foods. A meal plan without this doesn’t get you to where you want to go. Build your meals around stuff that’s really good for you. You can add other stuff, of course, but the super healthy stuff should be the majority of the food. • Food you really love. This is key. If you don’t enjoy the foods, you won’t stick with the plan for long. No one can eat food they don’t enjoy for more than a month or so (usually less). It’s why most diets fail — anyone can stick with a diet for a couple of weeks, but if you feel that you are suffering by eating it, you’ll fall off it after a little while. Instead, make sure you love your food. Add variety, of course, and mix up the plan every few weeks, but stick with foods you love.
Only THREE Parts? • Given those simple components, the solution doesn’t seem so hard, does it? And with a super healthy meal plan like this — one that you love — you can pair it with some exercise and get healthier than ever.
Oh…I love that! • What follows are some building blocks. They aren’t the only possible building blocks, and you shouldn’t use them exclusively, but they’re a good starting point for anyone. Below those building blocks are some sample meals you can use, but only if you love these foods. Instead of following it exactly, use it as a starting place for a few ideas you can use to construct your own meal plan — with foods you love.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Spinach and other greens • Spinach is a favorite of the greens, but other good ones include kale, bokchoy, collards, dark green lettuce (skip iceberg), and other similar greens. Try to build a couple of your meals around these greens, as they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. And best yet: super low in calories. You can eat a whole plate of greens and while they can fill you up, you couldn’t possibly get fat on them (unless you added a bunch of butter or fatty dressing or something like that).
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Avocadoes • Full of good fats and good flavor, avocadoes are perfect for salads, sandwiches, wraps and more.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Tomatoes • There are other good fruits and veggies, but tomatoes are one of the American favorites, not only for their nutritional content but because of the flavor they add to any dish — salads, sandwiches, pastas, soups, anything.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Fruits Don’t worry about their “Carbcontent”. Fruits are incredible snacks, because they are filled with fiber and vitamins but are low in calories. Eat lots of apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, pears, grapes, melons. Get a big pack of small apples and just munch on them whenever you’re hungry. Add fruits to all kinds of uncooked meals, chopped up or as a side dish.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Berries. They’re fruits too, but they are like a dessert when eaten cold. Add them to cereal, yogurt, smoothies, desserts, oatmeal and more … and of course just eat them by themselves.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Nuts. Full of fiber and good fats and protein. Chop them up and put them in hot cereal or salads or stir fry’s, or just eat them raw and whole as snacks. Also enjoy almond butter instead of peanut butter.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Beans. Great sources of fiber and protein, low in calories, you can eat beans all day long. I like them in chili, soups, tacos and more. Get a variety — red, black, pinto, white, lentils.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Whole grains. This is a broad category that includes all kinds of cereals, breads, wraps, brown rice, pizza dough, and more. Try to go for as much whole grain as possible — if you see “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” it’s not as good. Sprouted grains, such as Ezekiel sprouted bread or English muffins or cereals. Oatmeal is good (avoid instant) as is muesli.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Olive or canola oil. You need fats, but they should be the good kind. Avoid saturated, although a little saturated fat is fine. Use olive oil or canola oil, although there are other good ones too. Again, nuts, avocadoes and flaxseed also provide good fats as well as fiber.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Lean protein. Fish and lean poultry are best, and lean red meat can be included if you don’t eat too much of it. Vegetable protein — lots of soy protein and beans and nuts. Whole grains also contain protein, as do other veggies. It’s not hard to meet your daily requirements or protein.
Super Healthy Building Blocks • Lean calcium. Try to stick with lower-fat versions, as whole dairy products can have too much saturated fat. Lower-fat milk (Skim or 2%), yogurt, and cheese are good choices. Soy milk and yogurt are great because they are very low in saturated fat.
Breakfast • Hot oatmeal with chopped fruits or dried fruits, flaxseed, and/or berries. • Whole Grain cereal with soymilk and berries or other fruits. • Grain toast with almond butter, chopped fruits on the side. • Scrambled egg whites with tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, onions. • Egg White Omelet — fry up with olive oil, onions, mushrooms, green veggies, soy sauce or tamari sauce. You can throw in your other favorite veggies.
Lunch • Veggie sandwich or wrap. Can have tomatoes, spinach or other greens, avocadoes, hummus, bell peppers, maybe some Dijon mustard and/or Veganaise. Any combo that works for you. On thick whole grain bread or whole grain wrap. • Whole wheat pita with hummus. Add tomatoes and raw spinach and sprouts. • Veggie burger. On a whole grain bun, with Dijon mustard and ketchup and maybe a touch of Veganaise, lots of veggies (greens, sprouts, tomatoes and avocadoes are my favorites). Add some homemade sweet potato fries (use olive oil and a little salt) if you’re feeling decadent. These fries also go well with the sandwich or wrap. • Big salad. Use spinach or other greens, tomatoes, avocadoes, feta cheese, nuts, maybe some chopped fruit or berries, and a little bit of light vinaigrette.
Snacks • Fruits. • Chopped veggies. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. Dip in hummus if you like. • Nuts. Almonds are my favorites. • Protein shake. Good after a strength workout. Use soy or whey protein along with soy milk, frozen berries, banana and ground flaxseed. • Protein Bar. Good for before or after a workout (or during a really long workout, for that matter). • Yogurt with berries or fruits and nuts.
Dinner • Veggie stir fry. Just stir fry some onions and chopped veggies — various greens such as kale or bokchoi work well, as do broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, anything really. Add some soy sauce or tamari, black pepper and anything else you’d like to add — nuts, sesame seed oil, ginger, garlic, a little honey all work well in different combinations. Serve over brown rice if you like. • Tacos. Some low-fat refried beans and/or black beans on soft corn tortillas with salsa, greens, tomatoes, maybe corn or even some Fat free sour cream. • Chili. Turkey or Chicken. Great with brown rice or corn bread or on its own.
Dinner • Spaghetti or other pasta. Cook any kind of pasta you like. Cook some onions with diced tomatoes and bell peppers and some tomato sauce and basil. Add some fresh Parmesan if you like. For a meatier version, cook some lean ground beef, ground turkey with onions and then add some pre-made pasta sauce. • Homemade pizza. Get a pre-made whole-wheat pizza crust, add some pre-made spaghetti sauce, and then any chopped veggies you like, brushed with olive oil. Kale, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers all work great. Add some grated fresh cheese if you like. • Home made vegetable soup. Simply awesome. It will last you several days, even with a ridiculously large family.
Desserts Ingredients 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 banana, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon nonfat vanilla yogurt Per serving: 117 calories; 3 g fat ( 2 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 14 mg sodium; 277 mg potassium.
Desserts Ingredients 1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened 8 slices thin whole-wheat or white sandwich bread 3 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips 2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts, (optional) Per serving: 151 calories; 7 g fat ( 4 g sat , 1 g mono ); 6 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 131 mg sodium; 28 mg potassium.
Desserts Ingredients 1 prepared low-fat chocolate pudding snack cup 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios or other favorite 147 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 2 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 193 mg sodium; 318 mg potassium.
References • www.eatingwell.com • www.health.com • www.fitsugar.com • www.cookinglight.com • www.eatbetteramerica.com • www.livestrong.com • www.bodybuilding.com