Saturday, August 13, 2011

The 4 Key Components of a Healthy Meal Plan

Most people admit to feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to developing a healthy meal plan. In fact, I would guess that’s the biggest reason why most people fail when it comes to a diet of any kind. If it’s too complicated or too difficult, there’s no way you are going to stick with a plan for weight loss. And that’s where most diets lose you—there’s always a mile-long list of what you can eat and what’s forbidden. Or you have to count calories and carbs, which means you have to jot everything down in a book.

Let’s be realistic—none of that is going to happen long-term when you are busy and always on the go.

I like to break down my healthy meal planning into four blocks. If you incorporate each of these four blocks into your daily routine, at every meal and every snack, then you have mastered the Diet Solution Program. Sound too easy to be true? It’s no gimmick—just plain common sense that takes the guesswork out of eating right to lose weight. Here are the four components you should use with every meal:

    Vegetables

As you were growing up, I bet your parents told you to “Eat your greens!” As with most of the things our parents tried to teach us, this healthy eating tip is absolutely true. You should incorporate a serving or two of veggies with every meal and every snack.

They will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. They also contain fiber, which will help keep you regular and also helps to keep you feeling satiated between meals.

Remember that foods like corn and peas are actually not vegetables, but legumes and grains. Limit your intake of those, and opt for vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, and peppers instead.

    Healthy Fats

organic coconut oil

Did you know that organic coconut oil is actually a healthy fat?

You should absolutely eat fat with every meal, and I am including snacks in this as well. Healthy fats are MUFAs or PUFAs that give your body the kinds of essential fatty acids you need to thrive. Healthy fats can also help you feel satiated between meals, which is what helps you to stay on the straight and narrow with your healthy eating plan, resisting the urge to binge eat. Healthy fats include olive oil, organic butter, coconut oil, raw nuts, nut butters, and avocadoes.

    Water

Water should be your go-to beverage of choice while making the healthy eating switch. In fact, you should be drinking water not just with every meal, but between meals as well. The old adage about drinking 8 glasses of water per day is outdated. Instead, you should be aiming for half your body weight in ounces of water per day—more than that if you work out.

Why so much water? Studies show that most Americans are slightly dehydrated. Dehydration can actually register in the brain as hunger rather than thirst. So by drinking enough water, you are keeping your body from feeling hungry, and that keeps you from eating more food than you should.

    Protein

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a big believer in the power of protein. That’s why it’s an essential building block of a healthy diet and should be included in every meal, even snacks. Protein provides your body with essential amino acids you need for neural and cognitive processes. In addition, it has a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar, evening out those highs and lows that can cause you to eat everything in sight.

Not all proteins are created equal, though. I am a fan of whole organic eggs, all-natural cuts of meat, raw nuts, and nut butters. Stay away from fatty sources of protein, meats that contain nitrites or nitrates, and soy products. Those types of proteins can be detrimental to a healthy diet.

Building the perfect meal is easy when you follow the Diet Solution Program. Simply build these four nutritional blocks into every meal and snack, and you should begin seeing results in no time at all!

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