The Benefits of a Balanced Meal

October 06, 2017

The Benefits of a Balanced Meal

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+ AN EXCLUSIVE VIP RECIPE!

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A healthy diet is vital for the immune system and overall development, while certain types of diseases (such as those impacting the cardiovascular, skeletal, or circulatory systems) can be prevented by nourishing our bodies with nutritional variety. 

Focusing on protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber will ensure that you are providing the body with fundamental dietary needs - add plenty of water to the equation and you have the ingredients for ideal nutrition! 

 

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1. PROTEIN

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This dietary necessity is the building block of life, responsible for repairing and maintaining your body's cells. Every cell in your system contains protein! During the process of digestion, protein molecules are broken down into smaller substances known as amino acids, which can be used by your body to serve a multitude of functions. Sources of protein include animal foods such as lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, and eggs; and plant sources like beans, legumes, and nuts.*

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2. CARBOHYDRATES

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The body converts carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which is used for energy. But not all carbohydrates contribute to a healthy diet! Simple carbohydrates found in processed and refined foods (like sugary sweets or white rice) are lacking in fiber and important vitamins, and they can fill you up without providing nutritional benefits. These foods can cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, resulting in unhealthy digestive, hormonal, and energy level fluctuations. Carbohydrates such as legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits contain essential vitamins which are critical for steadying your body's food-processing functions and striking balance in every system.*

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3. FATS

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This component of a healthy diet is necessary for important functions like the body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Many fats are good for you, though others can be harmful to your health. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase productive cholesterol, and polyunsaturated fats also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated fats and trans fats are "bad fats" that prompt an opposite, negative body reaction. Foods that contain unsaturated fats, such as fish, avocados, nuts, and some oils, are beneficial for the body system. It's also a good idea to limit your intake of fried food, red meat, poultry skin, and full-fat dairy foods.*

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4. FIBER

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Humans can't digest dietary fiber, though it is an important aspect of balanced nutrition. There are two types of dietary fiber, found only in plants: soluble and insoluble, and both play a role in maintaining stable glucose levels and digestive regularity. Fiber is critical for aiding body systems so that each nutrition-processing function performs its best. Incorporate whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes into your diet as beneficial fiber sources.* 

 

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This recipe is a sample from meals found within my Nutrition Guide & Nutrition Plans - these menus contain ingredients which will keep your body systems functioning at full capacity! 

Sesame Barley with Greens and Teriyaki Tofu

INGREDIENTS

3 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
6 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
1 (14-ounce) package organic extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan.
2. Add brown rice; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Drain and cool slightly. Combine vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 garlic clove in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add chard and barley; toss well to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Cut tofu crosswise into 5 (1-inch-thick) slices. Place tofu slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Cut each tofu slice into 1/2-inch cubes.
4. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, remaining garlic clove, and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
5. Add tofu; toss to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until tofu is browned on all sides, stirring three times.
6. Divide brown rice evenly among 4 plates, and top evenly with tofu. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and onions.

 

Choosing healthy meal options and light snacks throughout the day will give your body the steady supply of nutrients it needs to stay active, energized, and functioning efficiently (as well as keep you on track with the 30-day calendar program)!

Making balanced lifestyle choices takes practice, but once you realize how good it feels to provide the body with healthy habits and proper nutrition, you'll understand why I always emphasize that food is essential for fitness! My Nutrition Plans give you the tools you need to make a habit out of healthy choices!

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Drop me a comment on Instagram, Facebook, or blog posts and let me know how I can help you learn more about how to be your body's best friend!

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