How to Maintain a Balanced Diet: FITLUC Healthy Plate
It is important for all of us, no matter our fitness goals, to get a good balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) from our food to keep ourselves healthy. One way to do that is to make sure we have all the food groups on every plate of food that we eat. This is a lot harder than it sounds, with all the different food choices available. I’ve come up with a little formula you can easily follow and remember. It’s called the FITLUC Healthy Plate, and you’ll see it pop up a lot in upcoming recipe posts.
So as you can see from this diagram, there should be 3 elements in your healthy plate!
Protein is super important because it helps you feel full. Protein is also essential for muscle recovery and muscle gain. While meat and fish remains the best and most complete source of protein, there are plenty of plant-based protein sources. Beans, nuts and legumes are great sources of plant-based protein. How much protein depends on age, gender and activity level, but generally you want to aim for at least a palm size of protein.
Here is one example of a generous portion of protein: This brunch plate here is my lunch today and the protein is two eggs (with homemade tomato ketchup for flavor) and 100 grams of smoked salmon.
2. Vegetables and Fruits
You want to be having lots and lots of fruits and vegetables, even if you are bulking and trying to be in a caloric surplus. Most fruits and vegetables are incredible sources of vitamins and antioxidants, which have lots of great health benefits. Vegetables are mostly water and fiber as well, which means they are incredibly low-calorie while being really filling. Their wide variety, numerous ways of preparation and sweet taste means you’ll definitely find a vegetable or fruit out there that you like. As a general rule, I try to have 4 - 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
This is a dinner plate and I made oven-roasted bell pepper and broccoli. I chopped up the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and put them in an oven on high, with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper. The natural sugars in the vegetables caramelize, and results in those brown crusty bits which are so delicious.
Carbohydrates are often demonized in diets. The reality is that carbs are super important for everyday function. They’re the most accessible source of energy for our brains, which unlike our muscles, cannot utilize fats or protein for energy. Without carbs, we feel sluggish, tired and we tend not to perform as well during workouts.
There are a wide variety of carbs, but my personal favorite out there has got to be bread. I always end up choosing bread over any other carb. But there are plenty of options too; rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, the list goes on!
This is a dinner plate I assembled with sirloin steak and bread. I have the tiniest bit of garlic and herb butter on the bread, for an extra touch of flavor.
Do remember that the method of cooking each element in the healthy plate affects the nutritional content as well. For example, a big handful of french fries does count as a carb, but they are also a significant source of saturated fat, excess sodium and other unhealthy chemicals you don’t want in your body. Some heathier cooking methods include steaming, sous vibe etc.
And this can apply to foods which you can get outside as well! Here are some examples of dishes bought outside which follow the FITLUC Healthy Plate Formula:
Tomato in Eggs Relish from One Man Coffee
Vegetable and Fruit: Tomato Stew
Carb: Toasted bread
The Good Boys Café
Protein: Poached Egg and Salmon
Vegetable and Fruit: Raw carrots, seaweed salad, edamame beans
Carb: Soba noodles
Bakery Sandwich from Woodlands Sourdough
Protein: Egg Omelette// Vegetable and Fruit: Lettuce and Caramelized onion// Carb: Sourdough bun
Remember, eating healthy starts with being aware of what you are putting into your body. Keep this blogpost bookmarked, so you’ll always remember to balance all the food groups in your meals. If you need help figuring out your nutrition for your fitness goals, book a trial with me so I can help you #GetThatFitLook!