To learn the foundational building steps for how to build a meal, the Plate Method is a great visual representation and reminder to help guide balanced eating. We want to aim for:
- Adequate protein
- Non-starchy veggies
- Healthy fats
- Controlled carb quantity
Everyone has a personal preference for their unique dietary pattern, whether that be paleo, gluten-free, carnivore, keto, low carb, plant-based, etc. The specific types of food on the plate may look different for everyone. For example, if someone is following a lower carb approach, their "Starchy Carbs & Fruit" section may hold foods like berries and root veggies as opposed to heavier carbs like brown rice and potatoes.
Prepping your pantry
Having a well-stocked pantry is essential for throwing meals together on the fly that are tasty and provide long-lasting energy. Your pantry can be your best ally to bring convenience and flavor together. Looking at a few different pantry categories can be helpful in creating a shopping list. Here are a few ideas to add flavor to your weekly meal plan.
|Type of Flavor Booster||Examples|
|Spices and Blends||
|Vinegars, Oils, and Other Flavors||
|Snacks and Shmears||
Opt for a few of these pantry staples in your next grocery trip to enhance the flavor of your meals without sacrificing nutritional value!
The amount of food you choose to eat is referred to as portion size. When consuming larger portions than your body needs, the risk of unwanted weight gain may increase. It can be common to experience higher, more drawn-out glucose responses from overly large portions, which can impair the body's ability to burn fat. Therefore, it's important to be mindful of how much you are eating for both glucose management and weight loss success. (64)
Two great methods to help control portion sizes and discover what amounts work best for you include using your hand as a measurement tool + reading nutrition labels.
It can be helpful to practice using your hand as a visual cue when serving yourself or estimating how much to eat from a restaurant meal. Remember to monitor your overall intake while logging your meals into the Nutrisense app!
Reading nutrition labels
When it comes to reading nutrition labels, the most important thing to realize is that the information shared is to be used as a reference point. Between monitoring glucose levels and knowing the portion size, we are able to determine if you responded well to that amount of food/meal.
Now, let's go over an example.
Say you choose to have a veggie omelet for breakfast and pair it with old-fashioned oatmeal. If the serving size listed on the nutrition facts label shows that 1/2 cup = 190 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein. You choose to portion out 1/2 cup of dry oats and cook to your preference. You notice you scored a 10 from this morning's meal in the Nutrisense app, indicating that you handled it well!
Being inquisitive, the next day you test a full cup of oats, which would double the total amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat compared to the previous 1/2 cup (now = 380 calories, 66 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of fat, and 12 grams of protein). You notice your meal scored a 4, which indicates this amount was not optimal for you. Therefore, we can conclude 1/2 cup of oats may be a better portion size for you when paired with adequate protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
Of course, there are many different variables to consider when assessing these two responses. For instance, if you slept poorly the night before, this could have affected your overall response. From there, we can make minor adjustments to your intake based on these factors to optimize your responses over time. That's the beauty of real-time data!
We now have the what and how under our belts. In line comes detailed insight into internal systems that impact weight loss.