Four Tips For Creating a Well-Balanced Meal
With the nutrients you need to thrive
When it comes to fueling your body for optimal health, understanding how macro and micronutrients play a role in your body’s function is helpful to getting the most out of your meals. The three big ones, or macronutrients, are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Micronutrients include essential vitamins and minerals like the B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and many more. Creating a balanced meal can help you meet your macro and micronutrient goals, so your body and brain are ready to take on whatever the day throws at you. Here are some tips for ensuring the meals you’re making are well-balanced.
Know what’s in your food.
This one seems simple, but you’d be surprised at what nutrients you thought (or didn’t think!) were in some of your favourite foods. Knowing that all-purpose flour has been enriched with vitamins like iron, thiamine and folic acid, where whole wheat flour is high in minerals like potassium, zinc and phosphorus can help you plan your meals in a way that ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you need for your body to thrive. Use Canada’s Food Guide to help you out in understanding nutrition labels and making nutritionally balanced choices. Many of the recipes on our website include nutritional facts—just scroll to the end of the page and you’ll see the nutritional analysis per serving.
Don’t forget about fibre.
It’s easy to forget about fibre when you’re thinking of all the other nutrients your body needs, but don’t let your mind slip on this super important nutrient! Fibre aids in digestion, heart health and feeling fuller for longer. So, pump up the fibre of your well-balanced meals with whole grains (like wheat, of course) and fibrous veggies! It’s not hard to make some quick swaps to increase the fibre of your meals. Try a whole wheat wrap for lunch, whole wheat toast for breakfast or add wheat germ into your smoothies and cereals.
Start with a base and build it up.
Starting with a base of something that covers one of your macronutrient or micronutrient goals, like pasta or tortillas for carbohydrates and fibre, and adding protein, fats and other nutrients on top of that is an easy way to think of creating a balanced meal. You don’t want to think about it as if you’re restricting certain foods in your diet, but rather adding the right foods in your meals to create something that is nutritionally balanced and satisfying for you and your family. Try out these recipes that feature a base of magnesium-filled wheat products as the base, with essential nutrients to top it off like Orzo with Baked Shrimp, Tomatoes and Feta, Mini Shell Pasta with Sausage, Kale and Sundried Tomatoes or Wheat Berry Veggie Bowl with Chickpeas.
It doesn’t have to be perfect every time.
Don’t stress if your meal isn’t perfectly well-balanced every time. The goal of creating balanced meals regularly is to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients to fuel your body over time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bagel with cream cheese or pancakes for dinner every so often. By understanding the nutrients in your food and making an effort to create more balanced meals regularly, you’ll automatically start pairing your quick pancake dinners with things like fruit, cottage cheese or protein powder to get a good balance of protein, fat and carbs in.
All in all, if you’re making an effort to eat more nutritionally balanced meals, understanding what’s in your food and starting with an easy base to build it up with things like fibre, protein, fat, carbs and essential vitamins and minerals can all help to make the process easier. Try making a well-balanced meal with life’s simple ingredient today! Check out more easy recipes on our blog.