How to Build a Healthy Meal

Health Window logo

It is important to include all the food groups in each meal.  This is to ensure that your body gets all the nutrients that the different groups have to offer, for optimal health. The key food groups are fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins. Try to limit sugars, saturated fat and sodium. Here are some tips on how to build a healthy meal:

MAKE HALF YOUR PLATE VEGGIES AND FRUITS

Vegetables and fruits are a great source of nutrients and fiber. Aim to include dark-green vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce) everyday. Eat a variety of fruits but don’t overdo it. Fruits can be high in simple carbohydrates (sugars) and can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Stick to the serving size of  1 piece of fruit OR 1/2 cup of fresh fruit or fruit juice OR 1/4 cup of dried fruit as a snack or dessert. 

INCLUDE WHOLE GRAINS

Try to make at least half the grains you eat whole grains. Choose these over processed grains like white bread, white pasta or white rice.  Whole grains provide more nutrients (like fiber) and can help to keep blood sugar levels more stable.

ADD LEAN PROTIEN

When choosing proteins, opt for the lean options such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs and pork. Remove excess skin and fat. Try to make the protein on your plate a white meat, like fish, at least twice a week. Avoid deep frying and smothering foods in heavy gravies or sauce - this will add unnecessary fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices 

GET CREATIVE IN THE KITCHEN

There is space to be creative when it comes to planning your meal. Switch things up so that you don't get bored. Try new flavors and textures and look online for inspiration!  Learn about which foods can be easily swopped out for others -  ask your Care Coach to send you our "Food Exchanges" information sheet if you need help with this.  

PORTION CONTROL

Always keep in mind the amount of food you put on your plate. Rather start with less and eat slowly – this gives your brain to realize that you are full. After you have finished, wait 10 minutes. If you are still hungry, then have a bit more. Don't make it your aim to finish what is on your plate. You can always keep extra for leftovers. 

HEALTHY WAYS TO SATISFY A SWEET TOOTH 

After a meal, it is natural to want some sort of dessert. You can indulge in desserts in the form of fruit salads or low-fat yogurts. If you want something warm, try a baked apple or pear with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Don't deprive yourself, but rather find healthier ways to deal with cravings. 

 

Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

References:

1. Williams MH, Rawson ES, Branch JD. Nutrition for health, fitness and sport. 11th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2017. Chapter 1: Introduction to nutrition for health, fitness and sports performance; p. 4-33.

2. Williams MH, Rawson ES, Branch JD. Nutrition for health, fitness and sport. 11th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2017. Chapter 2: Healthful nutrition for fitness and sport: the consumer athlete; p. 37-87.


Content Disclaimer:
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Dis-Chem website or app are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to establish a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. You understand and acknowledge that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
Back to top