How to Structure Healthy Meals For Weight Loss
Understanding the structure of healthy meals is essential if you want to achieve significant weight loss as well as improve your health. Every meal you have during the day should conform to the format outlined in this article. By doing so, you will achieve your weight-loss goals quickly and easily.
It is also important to get into the habit of preparing all of your meals yourself. This is one of the best habits for ensuring you lose weight and get in great shape.
Here are the guidelines for structuring healthy meals:
Have 'complete' meals
'Complete' meals have a portion of all 3 macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein and fat. This means that every meal you have throughout the day should contain foods that provide you with the 3 macronutrients. Unfortunately, many people tend to emphasise one or perhaps two macronutrients in most of their meals. For example, many people have cereal for breakfast and the predominant macronutrient is carbohydrate. The same emphasis is placed on their mid-morning or mid-afternoon meals, whereby they might have a piece of fruit. Lunch might be a salad sandwich.
It would be far better if they added certain foods to their meals in order to balance out the macronutrient profile of each of these meals. For example, they could add some LSA (linseed, sunflower seed and almond blend) or nuts and seeds to the cereal. To improve their mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals they could have some almonds with the piece of fruit or perhaps have a protein shake with it. In their sandwich they could simply add some tuna to make it a 'complete' meal.
Having 'complete' healthy meals offers so many benefits from a weight-loss and health perspective. The protein ensures your body is constantly supplied with amino acids, which help to maintain your muscle mass. This means your metabolism will remain elevated, making it easier to burn off body fat.
Also, high protein foods as well as fat help to suppress your appetite, which means you will find it easier to eat less and therefore, lose weight. Another benefit of 'complete' meals is the fact that protein, fat and high fiber foods slow down the absorption rate of carbohydrates, which means your blood sugar level will remain stable and insulin will remain low.
Ensure your portion sizes are correct
When you want to lose weight your healthy meals must have the correct portion sizes. There is no need to try and starve the excess weight off your body, that approach simply doesn't work. However, you must be willing to get your portion sizes correct. Having too much or too little food in a meal will be detrimental to your success.
The best way to know whether or not your serving size is correct is based on your appetite after having a healthy meal. Ideally, if your serving size is correct you should feel hungry about 2-3 hours after the meal. If the portion size of the meal or one of the macronutrients was too small you will find that you will feel hungry again about 30 minutes to 1 hour after the meal. If, on the other hand, the meal was too big then you may not feel hungry for many hours after the meal.
Oftentimes, when people want to lose weight they will drop their carbohydrate intake too low. For example, some people may only have some diced chicken with salad for lunch. Since the meal is low in carbs their blood sugar level continues to fall after the meal, resulting in hunger pangs.
Of course you can use the size and thickness of your palm as a good indicator of the correct portion sizes of your high protein foods and starchy carbohydrate foods in a meal. This is a good guideline to use and then you can adjust the portion size accordingly based on your appetite.
Select the right carbs
Carbohydrate is the macronutrient that has caused the most confusion for people when it comes to losing weight. Much of this confusion has resulted from incorrect information being promoted by some dieticians, nutritionists and government organisations. This issue is discussed in more detailed in the articles: USDA Food Pyramid History and Why the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is Wrong!
The fact is that the vast majority of people don't need the quantity of carbs being recommended by most so-called health experts. They are far better off eating more of the 'good carbs', which are the natural sources of carbs like, fruits and vegetables, particularly the fibrous or low-density vegetables like, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, etc. These are examples of high fiber foods.
As a broad guideline, people who want to lose weight should have 4-6 serves a day of the low-density carbs, 2-3 serves a day of the medium-density carbs, which include, most fruits, starchy vegetables and most dairy products, and 1-2 serves a day of the high-density carbs, which include, bread, pasta, rice and cereals. Selecting the correct amounts of these carbs will make it easy to create healthy meals. If you would like a more comprehensive list of the high, medium and low-density carbohydrates, simply get a copy of my e-book, Look Good, Feel Great!
Selecting the right carbs is effective at helping you lose weight and improve your health simply because it keeps your blood sugar level stable, which keeps your appetite under control as well as keeping insulin low. It also provides your body with a range of nutrients including, vitamins, minerals and 'phytonutrients' (nutrients from plants that have a protective effect on the body).
Emphasise natural, raw foods
Any sort of processing of food depletes its nutrient content. Therefore, it simply makes sense that healthy meals should contain more natural, raw foods. Fruits, salads and nuts and seeds are great natural, raw foods to include in your diet. These are also high fiber foods that help to keep your appetite suppressed in addition to providing your body with a range of nutrients that will improve your overall health.
Natural, raw foods also help to detoxify your body, alkalise your blood stream and provide your body with live enzymes that can dramatically improve your health and boost your energy level.
Overall, if you follow these 4 simple principles for preparing healthy meals, you will definitely be on your way to losing weight and improving your health.
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