When you are working on losing a few extra pounds, it can be hard to figure out what to eat or what not to eat. After all, weight loss is about 80% diet and 20% physical activity. This means you should be focusing on what you are eating before anything else. The trick is to have a good balance of nutrients for every meal and snack, then stop eating when you’re satiated. Here are some tips for keeping that balance.
Balancing Out Your Plate
The first thing to learn is how to find the right balance on your plate. This is going to vary a little depending on your own requirements, food intolerances and allergies, and personal preference. For example, if you are on a gluten-free diet, the carb section on your plate might be a little different than someone on a vegan diet where many of the foods they eat are carbs.
However, here are some ways to balance out your plate so that you have all the nutrients you need with every meal and snack:
- Protein, Carb, and Fat – The simplest way to create a balanced meal is to make sure you have at least one protein source, one carb, and one fat. This could be grilled salmon (protein and fat), brown rice (carb), and veggies (carb), or a big salad with chicken (protein), walnuts (Fat), and veggies (carbs). There are many ways to use this type of balance for your meals.
- Half Your Plate Contains Vegetables or Salad – Another way is going to help make sure you get enough vegetables and fiber into your diet. This is when half your plate for lunch or dinner is a salad or vegetables, with the other half being split up into your protein and other food sources, such as carbs or fats.
- 80/20 Rule – This is good when you want a little treat with your meal, without going overboard. To balance it out, have 80 percent “healthy” food, with 20 percent being your “treat”.
Healthy Foods for Each Nutrient
Another way to focus more on nutrition than diets when you are trying to lose weight is to make a list of the most important nutrients you need, then find foods you enjoy for each of these nutrients. Here are some examples:
- Protein – Eggs, meat, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, cheese/dairy, beans/legumes
- Carbs – brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, oats, most vegetables
- Fiber – Chia seeds, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables, fruits
- Fats – coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, fatty fish (salmon)
Stop with the All or Nothing Mentality
Through this balance of nutrition, you are going to stop dieting and restricting and stop with the all-or-nothing mentality. There are no “bad” labeled foods, but instead, you are going to just aim for a healthy balance between foods that nourish your body, and little treats that help to keep away those cravings.
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