How to Effortlessly Eat a Balanced Diet

 

Balanced Diet - Rotate Staple Ingredients
Photo by Annelies Verhelst

 

Do you mindlessly gobble down the same old boring breakfast before rushing out the door each morning? Or are you stressed out every night wondering what you should have for dinner without falling into a rut?

So many of us have virtually the same meals day after day. And even if you do make a conscious effort to mix up what you’re having for lunch, you still might not be eating a huge variety of foods. Most food products you find in the supermarket contain the same handful of ingredients – wheat, soy, corn and sugar.

But eating a lot of different foods is crucial to obtain all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. A balanced diet ensures you get the entire range of vitamins and minerals, without consuming too much of one particular nutrient. Because the same rule applies to both fast food meals and uber-healthy foods: “The dose make the poison.”

Even eating big ass salads and huge amounts of steamed broccoli on a daily basis for many years could potentially lead to health problems, when small amounts of harmful compounds in dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies build up over time. (You’d need to consume huge amounts of one vegetable over a long period of time before this would happen, but you get my point.)

Coming up with new recipes every day can be an overwhelming challenge. Luckily, there are two strategies to effortlessly eat a more balanced diet without stressing out:

  1.  Rotate your favourite staple ingredients. Every other day or whenever you buy new groceries, challenge yourself to vary the core ingredients of your standard breakfast and lunch. For example, if you enjoy having cereals every morning, regularly pick a different grain (barley, oats, quinoa), liquid base (Greek yoghurt, almond milk, kefir) and topping (goji berries, chia seeds, walnuts) for your breakfast.
  2. Use a personalised template for weekly meal planning. I’ll be showing you examples of how you can better deal with the dreaded question What’s for dinner?” in an upcoming post!

 

STRATEGY #1: ROTATE YOUR STAPLE INGREDIENTS FOR A BALANCED DIET

 

Green Smoothies

Have you jumped on the green smoothie wagon? Green smoothies are a tasty way to boost your daily veggie intake and provide your body with tons of vital nutrients, but even with superfoods like spinach and kale, you can have too much of a good thing. All dark leafy greens contain trace amounts of toxins to protect the plants from being entirely consumed by grazing animals. If you eat or drink large quantities of these anti-nutrients over a long period of time, they can build up and harm your health.

However, there’s no need to freak out – you can still enjoy the benefits of green smoothies by simply rotating your greens. Just choose a different leafy green whenever you go into the grocery store and give chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, arugula, beet greens or fresh herbs a try. You could also swap your standard smoothie for one made from other veggies once in a while, such as carrots, beets, celery and cucumber.

Here are some delicious smoothie recipes to get you started rotating your greens and veggies:

 

Alkaline Green Smoothie | Balanced Diet
Alkaline Green Smoothie from The Alkaline Sisters

 

1. Alkaline Green Smoothie (with kale, mint and parsley) from The Alkaline Sisters

2. Berry Banana Spinach Smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies

3. Pineapple Swiss Chard Smoothie from The Chalkboard Mag

4. Pink Power Detox Smoothie from Oh She Glows

5. Carrot Coconut Smoothie from The Chalkboard Mag

 

Yoghurt & Granola Parfaits

When you’re still half asleep and in a hurry to get out the door, is there anything easier than reaching for breakfast cereals? Unfortunately, lots of store-bought granola and muesli are packed with sugar. A simple solution to this problem is to make your own yoghurt parfaits with layers of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. When you make this healthy and quick breakfast in a jar, you could even eat it on-the-go on those mornings when you’re rushed for time.

Tip: Making your own granola with your favourite ingredients is fairly easy and allows you to limit your sugar and fat intake. Have fun experimenting with the mouthwatering recipes below.

 

Banana Granola | Balanced Diet
Banana Granola from Green Kitchen Stories

 

1. Banana Granola from Green Kitchen Stories

2. Bircher Muesli with Spiced Strawberry Sauce from My New Roots

3. Orange and Cashew Yoghurt with Roasted Buckwheat from In the Making by Belen

4. Pomegranate & Granola Breakfast Bowl by Love and Lemons

5. Honeyed Grapefruit Yoghurt Parfait with Popped Amaranth from The Kitchn

 

 

Porridge

A nourishing bowl of porridge can be an ideal breakfast to warm your winter mornings. There’s no need to limit yourself to classic steel-cut oats with butter milk when there are so many other (pseudo) grains, liquids and healthy toppings to choose from!

 

Banana Amaranth Porridge | Balanced Diet
Banana – Pecan Amaranth Porridge by Naturally Ella

 

1. Banana – Pecan Amaranth Porridge from Naturally Ella

2. Coconut Black Rice Pudding from My New Roots

3. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks

4. Morning Glory Oats with Carrots & Cinnamon from Joy the Baker

5. Apple Raspberry Pie Porridge from Kyra de Vreeze

 

 

Sandwich

Do you bring the same old sandwich to the office every day? Changing up your work-week lunches won’t just tantalize your taste buds, but it will also help you cover the entire range of vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. One effortless way to add a little variation to sandwiches is alternating your choice of protein. Don’t just stick to the usual deli meats and cheeses but mix things up with plant-based spreads like hummus, nut butters or avocado-mayonnaise. And of course putting veggies on your sandwich is always a fabulous idea!

You could also rotate the ‘carrier’ of your sandwich fillings – not just by switching whole wheat bread for slices of spelt, buckwheat or sourdough bread, but by substituting your sandwich for a corn tortilla or lettuce wrap.

Note: Always choose whole-grain products, even if the recipes listed below use white bread or other refined grains!

 

Egg Asparagus Sandwich | Balanced Diet
Spring Sandwich with Egg & Asparagus from The Kitchn

 

1. Spring Baguette with Egg, Asparagus and Pickled Onions The Kitchen

2. Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps by Donna Hay

3. A Hummus Vegetable Sandwich from Martha Stewart

4. A Foodblogger Sandwich with Mozzarella, Field Salad and Sourdough Bread from Juls’ Kitchen

5. Mediterrean Chicken Wrap from Martha Stewart

 

 

Do you eat a well-balanced diet? What’s your favourite strategy to rotate your staple meals? Please share your best tricks or go-to recipes in the comments!

Next up: What’s for Dinner? Two Templates for Stress – Free Meal Planning


Posted by:

Jennifer Mulder


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01/01/2017
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