Building your meal the proper way is an important strategy to use to optimize your health, including obtaining or maintaining a healthy weight. What you eat gives you energy but it also impacts your hormones, cravings and general health. This is why I use a simple formula when I'm deciding what to eat!
The first building block is protein. I usually choose this option first because sometimes the protein option will also include my fat for the meal and it will also dictate the co-stars (aka side dishes).
Second I choose what fiber I would like to eat. Raw vegetables are a great source of fiber and have powerful phytonutrients as well. I will also sometimes choose a high fiber whole grain bread like Daves Killer Bread which comes with a good amount of fiber, some fat and protein too.
Next is your source of fat. This could be an oil based salad dressing (preferably avocado or olive oil) to go on your raw vegetables, nuts or nut butter, avocado, eggs, seeds, certain non-dairy milks, unsweetened dark chocolate, etc.
Last but certainly not least you need to make sure you have some sort of plant in your meal, This is often already there but sometimes you can choose your protein, fat and fiber without using a plant. You're supposed to get at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day- the only way this happens is if you're constantly eating plants.
Now you've built your meal in such a way to promote satiety, nourish your body and prevent overeating by controlling your cravings.
Summer time and the living is easy!
But don't let yourself take it easy on your nutrition. Let's talk about some strategies you can use for the summer so you keep your body fueled with nutritious foods.
To start with, take advantage of all the fresh fruits and vegetables that summer brings! Apricots, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, arugula, strawberries, carrots, blackberries, beets, corn and MORE! In season produce will be extra yummy and nutritious. Bonus if you can find locally sourced produce because this means it had less time to travel to get to your grocery store and is likely more nutrient dense than the same looking piece of corn that traveled 2,000 miles to get to the store.
Second, think about your day and plan ahead. This goes for all times of the year but with summer comes less ritualistic days and more spontaneity. Are you going to spend some time at the pool or ball park this week? Make sure you have your fridge stocked with easy to grab treats. Have a cooler and ice packs ready to go so you're not stuck eating processed junk while you're away from home. Prep your fruits and veggies ahead of time so you just have to grab them, throw them in a cooler and head out the door!
Third, be conscious of what you're drinking or enjoying for refreshment. Steer clear of the sugary "sports drinks" and stick with water. Lemons and limes are in season so if you need some extra flavor, try slicing up some of these and putting them in your water. Summertime wouldn't be summertime without some yummy popsicle or ice cream so don't feel bad about indulging every once in a while but make sure you're paying attention to how often you indulge and in what serving size you're enjoying your treats.
Implement these three strategies and your summer will be off to a nutritious start!