balanced-mealWithout a doubt, most of us have allowed ourselves to fall deep into the trap of becoming accustomed to prepackaged foods, fast foods and restaurant foods…all highly concentrated and calorie-dense choices.

Refined foods pack a punch of calories in a small package making it easier to over consume calories. They are calorie dense and nutrient void.

These kinds of foods do not answer the nutritional needs of our bodies and therefore we get hungry soon after and begin reaching for …you guessed it…those quick processed packaged snacks.

On the other hand, healthy foods, natural foods, lean proteins, unprocessed carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables provide the building-blocks your body needs to keep satisfied. When you are eating the right balance of macro-nutrients…proteins, carbohydrates and fats… you never feel intense hunger.

In fact, most people are actually surprised at the amount/volume of food they can eat when it is clean, healthy and unprocessed.

Balancing macro-nutrients in every meal is the key. Protein should always be looked at as the foundation of your meal. If it is dinner, then add some brown rice or a super healthy sweet potato, and some fibrous carbohydrate like broccoli or asparagus or create a yummy green salad to compliment things. That’s a healthy meal.

Lean proteins can include meats, poultry, fish, eggs and low fat dairy products.

Then, add in your carbohydrate. But, not any carbohydrate. You must make the distinction between processed, refined carbohydrates and natural carbohydrates. Natural carbohydrates are foods grown in the ground, on a plant or tree. They remain in their natural state all the way to your plate. These include things such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes (bean), brown rice and fruits.

Now that you have your protein and healthy complex carbohydrate in place it’s time to add the fat.

Small amounts of healthy fats are needed by your body. These fats include flax oil, flax seeds and other seeds, fatty fish, nuts and olive oil.

Once you’ve added your healthy fat, you have created the perfect well-balanced meal of macro-nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates and heart healthy fats.

Now that we’ve addressed macro-nutrients and meal-time it’s time to address your in between meal snacks.

In order to burn off fat it is vital that you maintain stable blood sugar levels and you do this by feeding your body every 2-3 hours during the day…never going more than 4 hours without eating. If you do, your blood sugar will drop and you’ll eat too much at your next meal shooting it up again. It then becomes a vicious cycle.

Small meals (in between your major meals) fuel your energy level keeping your metabolism cranking every minute of the day and night. And, by keeping your blood sugar levels stable, you avoid being ravenously hungry which ultimately leads to binging and overeating.

Built into this healthy eating plan should also be a few meals weekly where you allow yourself some leeway for things that you just enjoy but are not necessarily looked at for their nutritional benefit.

For example…when you are eating healthy on a day to day basis, enjoying a piece of birthday cake when celebrating with others is not going to hurt you. In fact, being rigid is the worst thing you can do.

It is these little allowances that help you stick to your plan for the long haul. They are your rewards for giving your body the nutrients it needs.

As an end note, you need to pay close attention to so-called “health foods” because many of these are cleverly disguised as junk foods. You must read labels closely and not just look at what’s been cleverly marketed as “healthy” by an industry that cares nothing more than maximizing their profits.

For more tools and resources to assist you in attaining your goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: Carolyn Hansen Fitness.

“I help clients take charge of their health before circumstance removes the option. If your quest for peak performance living is a journey I’ll put you in the driver’s seat.”