here’s a sample meal from my everyday diet. It is a balanced plate with a strong presence of protein – red meat in this case, small quantity of carbs – the greens and the bread (rusk), and fats – the cheese and the sauce.
What you see on the plate are components, which are chosen based on a simple principle – all macro nutrients should be present with a predominance of the protein. The carbs and fats are easy to acquire and are abundant in almost every type of food, which is why we have to make a conscious decision to go after the proteins.
In the same time, all the specific components of this meal are replaceable. The protein could as well be chicken, fish, beef, etc. The carbs could be coming from a small portion of pasta, rice, other type of veggies, etc. You get the idea.
In light of having the post showing the correct weight of all the food components I have displayed the pictures with the scale in them. Don’t get me wrong – I am not weighing my food on a daily basis. It is an extremely useful experience and skill, but once you get the hang of it you can “eye-ball” with relative accuracy the weight of a food you consume regularly.
So what’s on the plate? Here’s the breakdown.
For protein I am having a 100 grams of red meat. It is not the leanest of meats, by far, but that’s not the point. The key is to have diversity in the overall diet and don’t limit yourselves to chicken & broccoli with rice. As long as you’re having a decent quantity of protein, a small portion of carbs and fats, you are going to be just fine.
The next in line are the carbs in the face of the salad and the rusk (the dried and double-baked bread).
The salad is simple and about 120 grams in weight. Nothing fancy – kale, tomatoes, some purple onions, or whatever you might like. The point is to have different veggies as a part of your overall diet. A good rule of thumb nutritionists and scientists adhere to is to have different colors of vegetables on your plate. Different hues in the colors are a hint of different micro nutrients. So, the richer and more versatile your vegetables are in colors the better. The dressing is light – not more than 5 grams of olive oil, but rich in other spices. Use a lot and different condiments. Put some rosemary in the olive oil. Apply some creativity and play it up to your tastes. Just don’t go crazy on the oils and fat dressings.
The rusk or dried, double-baked bread is an ideal substitute of regular bread. It is rich in fiber, has some moderate amount of proteins, but it is mostly carbs and as such it is a great source of those. I recommend rusks mainly because of their form – their small, light, and easy to apply to pretty much any meal. Because of their petite size you will be hard pressed to consume too much of them. For instance, the one I am having with my lunch is weighing the impressive 8 grams. Even if I ate three of them it is no big deal. A regular piece of bread may be weighing well above 60-70 grams and having almost the same calorie density, but minus the fiber richness of rusks.
So what’s left are the fats. Besides the olive oil in the salad I like to take mine in the form of cheese. The sauce is also rich in fats, maybe not the healthiest, but the small quantity as a whole is what counts here the most. The cheese is 17 grams as you can see in the picture and the sauce is of similar weight.
So that’s it! The underlying principle of building up the nutritious, balanced plate is what’s important. Tonight the meat may be some other type, the veggies as well, and so on, but I will keep the proportions relevant, the portions small. The latter are key. Keep your plates, bowls and glasses small. Don’t fall for the get bigger-for-less. No, don’t get the extra helping for just a dollar more. You don’t need it. Also, add lots of color in your plate and beside it. Our food is tastier when it looks prettier. This is how the brain works.
It’s not only the diet, it’s the whole lifestyle around it.
That’s it for now. Let me know if you want to have something specific commented upon.