A nutritionist tells us how to build the perfect weight loss meal, step by step
If you are trying to lose weight, you may focus on creating the perfect exercise routine that can help you shed those pounds. However, while exercise is a vital component of weight loss, it is important to remember that your diet also plays an important role. It can be difficult to know exactly what you should and should not eat. While cutting out processed foods, reducing sugar intake, and eating vegetables may not all be ideas, planning three healthy meals a day can still be daunting. To help you along the way, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide with some expert advice.
we talked to Mary Saturday, a registered dietitian and personal trainer, for a rundown on how to build a well-balanced, weight-loss-friendly meal. She told us that proper proportions of vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats are keys. Find her step-by-step process below!
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Step 1: Start with a balanced board.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the key to any healthy meal is balance. To make sure you hit that mark, Sabbath says that “a good rule of thumb is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, one-fourth of your plate with lean protein, and one-fourth of your plate with low-glycemic carbs and a sliver of healthy fat.”
Vegetables are especially important, and should make up about half of your meal, as they can provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. “A lot of people are malnourished despite being overweight because they’re eating zero-calorie foods,” Sabat points out. Fiber is essential to help you feel full and prevent cholesterol buildup in the body. It also helps with gut health.”
Step 2: Choose lean proteins
In addition to vegetables, protein is another very important component of a healthy meal. Sabbath says lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu and beans are all good options. “Make sure animal products are always organic because that’s what you eat your meat, and if your meat is eating GMO foods and hormones and antibiotics, you’ll also be eating these things that are bad for health and weight,” she advises.
Protein is essential, especially when it comes to weight loss, because it “helps build and maintain muscle, keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and helps regulate metabolism,” notes Sabat, noting that “protein costs more calories to digest than fat so It is also important to include them in every meal.
Step Three: Choose complex carbohydrates
Then, you can add some complex carbs to the mix. Despite what you might be led to believe, not all carbs are bad! Options such as whole grains, quinoa, oats and sweet potatoes can support healthy weight loss. Complex carbohydrates provide energy and fuel for your body and mind. Sabat explains that if we cut back on carbohydrates too much, we also risk interfering with healthy brain chemistry because it’s directly linked to serotonin levels.
However, she said you should “make sure you only measure out one portion of these per meal” and also tells us that “skipping that portion and adding more vegetables at the evening meal may be important for people who are insulin resistant and need a little less carbohydrate.”
Step Four: Eat healthy fats
Just as there are things like good carbohydrates, there are also plenty of good fats to choose from—an important component of any balanced meal. Olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds make great additions to your plate.
“Healthy fats are important for hormone production and vitamin and mineral absorption,” Sabat says. Plus, adding these foods to your meal “helps fill you up and keeps us full for longer.” Just remember to limit the amount of healthy fats you consume, as they are high in calories and are best eaten in moderation.
Step 5: Flavor with herbs and spices
There’s no need for a mushy meal! In fact, not only do herbs and spices add flavor to the mix, but they can also help improve the healthiness of your food. Saturday notes that certain spices can boost your metabolism to help with weight loss. Options like ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and more are all great options when it comes to tasty ingredients that can also help you lose weight.
So there you have it: your go-to guide to preparing a delicious, filling meal that can help your body thrive. By eating three meals a day that contain the right amount of vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (in addition to maintaining an effective exercise routine), you’ll be well on your way to your desired weight.