As consumers, as people who eat, as people who watch the news or read magazines, as people who shop at grocery stores, we are bombarded with messages about how to be/eat/live “healthy” lifestyles. But what happens when those messages are conflicting? When one doctor says one thing is healthy and another claims the complete opposite is true? When one person on social media lost weight one way and another says it’s not effective? How do we know who to listen to, what’s right and what will work to help us reach our own individual goals?
It doesn’t have to be so confusing. Trust me!
First let’s remember that we are individuals. Our goals are our own, and the challenges we face, the obstacles we need to over come and the tools we have to work with are different than anyone else’s. If you work full time and have children to care for at home, your healthy lifestyle will look very different from the part time college student who lives at home with her parents.
So first let’s cut out all the noise. Ignore the distractions. Stop the comparison and focus on yourself. Turn inward and tap into your needs, your responsibilities and your goals. I can’t make a blanket statement that will work for each and every one of you right now. If I did, that wouldn’t taking into account each of your own bio-individualities (your own uniqueness). And if you’re hearing messages out there that will “work for everyone”, that’s probably a red flag that you should look for better information.
Balance is the ultimate goal. On our plates, in our days, over the span of our lives. “Balance” is another one of those words that gets thrown around like “self care” or “me time”. It’s essentially a meaningless word, until you define it for yourself!
Finding balance can also feel huge. Overwhelming. So let’s start small.
One super simple thing I teach my clients is how to balance their plates. Both meals and snacks should be “balanced” to offer the most nutrients, to be satisfying and filling and to help us reach our health goals.
So that means, filling your plate with non starchy veggies first- aim for half the plate! This includes greens, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers and other veggies that are high in fiber and low in starch.
Then add a serving of lean protein. Tofu, fish, chicken, beans and lentils, eggs and lean beef all count as sources of protein.
Include a source of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, olive oil, avocado.
And then finish the plate off with some high quality, nutrient dense complex carbohydrates. My personal favorites are sweet potatoes, quinoa, wild rice or oats.
Approach snacks the same way. Include all those components of a balanced meal and treat snacks as a tool to add nutrition to your day, not just something to “hold you over” until your next meal.
Avocado toast with tomato, spinach and hard boiled egg slices
Tuna stuffed avocado
Oats with chopped apples and walnuts
Yogurt with berries and chia seeds
Starting simple like this, balancing our plates, will be one step in journey to find balance in our lives. Once you’ve mastered this then you’ll have a strong foundation and feel confident to move on to something else that is out of balance in your life. Be realistic with yourself, give yourself a little grace and think about what you can do in your own life to move you closer to balance.