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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dooreck with Zoeya Gordon

How to Build a Balanced and Nutrient-Dense Meal

Updated: Jul 21, 2023


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A healthy eating plate is a visual guide that can help you design a balanced meal that meets your nutritional needs.

Designing a Nutrient-Dense Healthy Eating Plate


A healthy eating plate is the foundation of a well-balanced diet that can help you obtain the nutrients your body needs to maintain good health. The idea is to design a plate that comprises different foods from all the food groups that can supply your body with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. The plate is divided into four sections: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. By incorporating these elements into your meals, you can ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to fuel your body.


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Here are some essential tips to help you build a healthy eating plate:


1. Fill Half Your Plate With Fruits and Vegetables


The first step to building a healthy eating plate is to fill half of it with fruits and vegetables. These nutrient-dense foods are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Aim to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the maximum nutritional benefit.


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2. Choose Whole Grains


The second section of your plate should be filled with whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread, or pasta. Whole grains provide dietary fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer periods. They also help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.


3. Add Lean Protein


The third section of your plate should be filled with lean proteins such as chicken, fish, tofu, or beans. Protein is important for building and repairing tissues in the body and is essential for properly functioning our metabolism. Choose lean proteins to decrease your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.


Protein is important for building and repairing tissues in the body and is essential for the proper functioning of our metabolism.

4. Include Healthy Fats


The last section of your plate should be filled with healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish, such as salmon. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish and support heart, cognitive function, and joint health. Healthy fats help our body to absorb nutrients effectively and provide energy.


5. Limit Processed Foods


Processed foods such as chips, sweets, and fast foods often contain unhealthy additives, excess salt, and sugar. They can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Instead, choose whole, nutrient-dense foods as the mainstay of your diet.


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6. Mindful Portions


Though a healthy eating plate is a great way to balance your diet, portion size is essential. Even consuming too much healthy foods can lead to weight gain. To avoid overeating, it's best to be mindful of your portions. If you are still hungry, start with a smaller portion size.


7. Learn to Cook and Meal Prep


The best way to ensure you consume the highest quality whole foods in your healthy eating plate is to learn to cook meals from scratch. Cooking at home helps you control the quality of ingredients and eliminates GMOs, artificial colors, and additives. A good way to achieve this is through obtaining a healthy eating plan and meal prepping for the week to stay on track with your goals and save time and money.


Building a healthy eating plate is a simple yet effective way to ensure you consume a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. By filling your plate with essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and by limiting processed foods, you can enjoy optimal health and well-being.


Below is an informational video from TEDx Talks on the role of food in health presented by Dr. Rupy Aujla.




Fun Facts


  1. The healthy eating plate emphasizes the importance of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, rather than processed and refined foods.

  2. Dark chocolate contains flavanols that can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. However, it is also high in fat and sugar, so it should be consumed in moderation.

  3. Chewing gum can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, leading to improved digestion. However, it may also increase the air we swallow, leading to bloating and discomfort.

  4. Pineapple contains a bromelain enzyme that can help break down proteins and improve digestion. It also contains antioxidants that can reduce inflammation in the gut.

  5. Sourdough bread is a good source of probiotics that can support gut health. The fermentation process creates a favorable environment for beneficial bacteria to grow.


Statistics


According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, utilizing the Healthy Eating Plate can assist in constructing a nutritious and well-rounded diet. The plate encourages individuals to prioritize fruits and vegetables, which should make up half of the plate, and then incorporate whole grains and healthy proteins into the meal. It is suggested that replacing refined grains with whole grains can positively impact an individual's blood sugar and insulin levels. Suggestions for healthy proteins include fish, nuts, poultry, and beans. Nourishing plant oils such as olive and canola are encouraged in moderation, while sugary drinks should be limited. Dietary quality over quantity is stressed when crafting a healthy meal.


Summary


Incorporating the right foods into our diet is the key to maintaining a healthy gut. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can improve our overall health and well-being by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria. We can positively impact our gut health and prevent digestive disorders by making simple changes to our diet and lifestyle.

Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthily. 🌱 🌾 🌿


Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Gut Health ➕ Patient Advocacy with Navigation ➕ Life Balance


If you were looking for information about Private Healthcare Navigation and Patient Advocacy from Executive Health Navigation


Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


 

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