How To Prepare a Balanced Meal
Preparing balanced meals is the key to staying satiated throughout the day. But what does balanced mean exactly? There are 3 essential macronutrients your body needs: protein, carbs, and fat. Some might find it controversial to label carbohydrates (carbs) as essential nutrients. You might have heard of the “KETO” diet that doesn’t promote the consumption of carbs. The truth is every single cell in our body runs off glucose, which is a form of sugar found in carbohydrates. Carbs give us energy and allow the brain to function properly. Please don’t completely cut out carbs. If you are interested in experimenting, a low-carb diet is recommended over a no-carb diet. Hope this helps!
So how do you put together a meal that contains protein, carbs, and fats? First, pick your choice of protein. If you’re plant-based, good sources of protein include: tofu, tempeh, quinoa, lentils, beans, or mock-meats (usually made out of soy products). If you’re not plant-based, any meat, poultry, or fish can be a source of protein. Next, pick out a source of carb. This could mean brown rice, sprouted toast, whole wheat pasta etc. Finally, a source of healthy fat. Some of my favorites are avocados, nuts and seeds, and of course olive oil (I’m Middle Eastern). There is so much room to get creative in preparing a balanced meal. All spices and flavors are welcomed!
Check out a few of these balanced recipes below!
- “Banza” linguini chickpea pasta
- Store-bought marinara (Trader Joe’s)
- Cremini mushrooms
- Italian spice mix
- Dried basil
- Olive oil
- Red crushed chili flakes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (about 8 cups)
- Add “Banza” linguini and stir immediately
- Cook to desired firmness (10 minutes)
- Strain and rinse with water and add pasta back into the same pot
- Slice a box of washed cremini mushrooms and in a separate pan sauté in olive oil until golden brown
- Pour glass/can of marinara into the pot of pasta
- Add sautéed mushrooms into the pot
- Add Italian seasoning and dried basil
- Stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes
- Serve with crushed red chili flakes
TIP: Using alternative pastas such as chickpea pasta increases the protein content almost double the amount!
Crispy Tofu on Rice
- Extra firm tofu
- Brown rice
- Fresh broccoli
- Sesame oil
- Gyoza sauce
- Black sesame seeds
- Bring 1 and 1/2 cups of water to a boil and add 1/2 cup of brown rice
- Pat down extra firm tofu with a paper towel until completely dry
- Cut up half the block of tofu into cubes and sauté in sesame oil
- In the same pan, sauté chopped up fresh broccoli. Add sesame oil as needed
- Once the tofu is golden brown on both sides, add in desired amount of gyoza sauce
- Serve sautéed tofu and broccoli on a bed of brown rice, topped off with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds
Can you spot the protein, carbs, and fats in this balanced meal?
- Tempeh “bacon” strips (Whole Foods)
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Black beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Heat up tempeh bacon strips on a pan and toast whole wheat tortillas on a separate pan
- Spread half an avocado on tortillas
- Assemble tacos by adding black beans, romaine lettuce, corn, and tempeh bacon strips to the tortillas
- Top off with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!
Tip: You can add salsa, sour cream, and cheese if you’d like.