How many times have you seen a post on Instagram or a recipe on a wellness website- about their “simple” “thrown together” lunch…..only to lose count of how many ingredients they used, the twenty stores they went to source them, from places that definitely don’t fit into your family’s weekly budget. Honestly, half the time when food bloggers are posting about the benefits of some latest product I can hardly pronounce its name let along list off its benefits.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a meal that is beautifully prepared. But sometimes, work, kids, (READ: general life) means that you don’t have time to make a chef approved meal every time. I know I don’t.
If there is one thing that having no time has taught me, it’s that healthy eating doesn’t (again: DOES NOT) have to be complicated, nor does it even have to look pretty. In a pinch, a simple meal can actually be simple- literally three ingredients simple. Not run around your kitchen and throw every single thing you own onto a dish simple.
Healthy eating at every meal includes three basic building blocks.
1. Protein source (chicken, beef, fish, chickpeas, beans)
2. Whole grain carbohydrate (brown rice, whole grain bread, potato, corn)
3. Fruit and Vegetables (You know the drill)
There are recommendations of how much of your plate each component “should” cover depending on your age. When making your child’s plate, aim to have equal portions of each component, for adults that shifts to ½ a plate of fruit and veg and the other ½ protein and whole grains.
But don’t focus on the “should”. If right now your plate has no fruit and vegetables on it, adding any is a step in the right direction!
Here are some examples of what a balanced meal could look like.
When I have time lunch looks like:
Protein: Sushi style salmon
Healthy carbs: Homemade French fries
Vegetables and Fruit: Roasted cauliflower and beets
But let’s take it back down to basics…
Protein: Can of tuna
Healthy carbs: Whole grain corn thins whole grain corn thins
Vegetables and fruit: Avocado and cherry tomatoes
Protein: Milk and peanut butter (use the milk instead of water in the oatmeal)
Healthy carbs: Whole grain oatmeal prepared with milk (for added protein)
Fruit and Vegetable: Berries
Healthy carbs: whole grain cereal
1-2-3 soup with low sodium chicken broth, broccoli, corn and chickpeas for added protein
Healthy carbs: Corn
Healthy carbs: Whole grain Kashi bar with yogurt
Fruit and Vegetable: Apple
Now, these arguably might not the most beautiful meals you’e ever eaten- but are they balanced meals you can feel good about? Heck ya!
What does your lunch/Dinner look like most days?