How To Balance Your Food Portions, So You Aren’t Crashing Mid-Day

I see it all the time…By 3 PM, you’re feeling sluggish and reach for coffee or snacks to power through the remaining hours of the workday. Even when you’re eating at least three meals a day, you can’t seem to find that sustained energy that will last you through the day without the need for a boost.

What’s likely happening is you aren’t eating well-balanced meals at every meal. Eating balanced meals helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and prevents that mid-day crash by providing consistent energy levels throughout the day.

When you have too much of one food group and not enough of another, your diet becomes imbalanced, thus throwing off your satiety and energy levels, making you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods like sweets and processed snacks. As consequence, avoiding these less healthy options will naturally aid weight loss and concentration as you are consuming fewer throughout the day.

A balanced meal consists of the right amount of proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fresh vegetables.

Components of a Balanced Meal

A balanced meal starts with a decent serve of protein to aid in building strong, healthy muscles and ensure satiety. Protein sources are rich in amino acids, which the body needs to repair tissues and build muscle. Good sources of filling (and nutritious) protein include beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and pork.

Complex carbohydrates provide your body with sustained energy and give you fibre to help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Complex carbs also have vitamins that support all body functions, relaying messages between cells to communicate effectively. Examples of complex carbohydrates include root vegetables, fruits, and well digested grains like rice and quinoa.

Healthy fats provide your body with energy to move cells around to where they are needed in the body while also burning, keeping you feeling fuller and energy-filled for longer.

Healthy fats help maintain brain function and boost memory, enhance skin condition, and aid digestion by sending chemicals through cell membranes that tell the stomach it is full so that you won’t eat as much in one sitting. Healthy fat sources include butter, ghee, olive oil, avocados, and nuts/seeds.

Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and nutrients, which help the body heal itself properly while also providing fibre to keep you regular after eating. They also provide antioxidants to protect cells from free-radical damage.

Food Portioning for a Balanced Meal

There are many different formulas for creating a balanced meal. I favour a diet free of grains, dairy, and highly processed vegetable oils; as I have seen the impact they can have on the health of a number of my clients. My recommendation would be to limit the intake of these particular food groups because of their inflammatory and hormone dysregulating nature.

So, here is the formula I like to use for creating a balanced meal:

50% vegetables: Choose ones with plenty of fibre such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, or carrots, to name a few. Aim to add as much colour variety to your meal as you can.

25% Protein: Grass-fed meat is always the best choice as this type contains the highest amount of nutrients and no added hormones.

15% Complex Carbohydrates: Starchy foods like pumpkin, sweet potato, rice, quinoa and lower sugar fruits are excellent sources of fibre and provide many valuable nutrients.

10% Healthy Fats: A generous serve of grass-fed butter, avocado and coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee are all great choices. Avoid canola oil, vegetable oils, and saturated fats.

While this is just one formula for a balanced meal, it is a good guideline to keep in mind for portioning purposes. The macronutrients that keep us the fullest are protein and healthy fats, so I would suggest playing around with these and test your satiety levels.

Sometimes it’s about trial and error and seeing what combination will help you achieve the sustained energy you crave.

Benefits of Eating a Balanced Meal

  • Eating a balanced meal each time helps you eat less because your diet is consistently balanced rather than heavily leaning toward one particular food group.
  • Balanced eating gives your body all the essential nutrients it needs to function throughout the day without crashing or getting hungry mid-day because it’s starving for a different food group.
  • As you eat more balanced, you may start dropping unwanted weight as your body’s nutrient stores are replenished and rebalanced.
  • Keeping a well-balanced diet will keep your metabolism firing at total capacity, so it doesn’t slow down or shut down from malnutrition caused by unhealthy eating habits and a lack of balanced nutrition.
  • When your body feels energised and balanced, your mind feels clearer. Thus, making it easier to function throughout the day.
  • A balanced diet can help prevent or minimise risks associated with diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

As you can see, the benefits of eating a balanced diet are many. If you often find yourself feeling sluggish, irritable, or just plain exhausted after lunchtime, it could be because you are not eating enough, or enough of the right foods and depriving your body of the nutrients it needs. When you feel this way day after day, you end up running on fumes.

With a simple shift in mindset, you can change the way you eat, still enjoy your food, and get that long-lasting energy you need to get through all of your to-dos.

If you’d like to learn more about balancing your plate and healthy eating, consider signing up for my (FREE) Complete Approach to Healthy Eating. When you sign up you’ll unlock instant access to my recipe eBook which is chock full of healthy, easy-to-follow recipes for you to try at home. Then, over the next four weeks, you’ll receive healthy eating resources and tools right in your inbox, including:

  • My guide to a balanced plate
  • Meal planning and preparation tips
  • Quick and easy meal ideas
  • My go-to shopping list
  • And more!

Sign up for the Complete Approach to Healthy Eating here. Did I mention it’s FREE?

Sources

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/why-good-nutrition-important
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324093
https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#calories
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

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