Healthy can be a very loaded term. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another person, but there are definitely guidelines you can follow to get started. This includes making sure you have real protein, carbohydrates, and good fats throughout the day. Not eating the right type or amounts can lead to low energy, unwanted weight gain, and inflammation. Eating what we think of as junk food isn’t really about the amount of calories you’re consuming (you can undereat and still gain weight) but more about what it’s doing internally like causing inflammation, throwing off hunger hormones, messing up your metabolism, and so on.
All the information out there can be overwhelming and can lead you down a road of confusing, but there really are simple steps you can follow to put together a healthy meal without stressing or thinking too hard about it. Imagine waking up and having a breakfast in mind that you know will keep you full and satisfied until the afternoon. Or, getting home from work in the evening and knowing what heat up on the stove or throw in the oven while you change into some comfy clothes for a relaxing evening. If you follow these steps and play around with different combos, I promise you’ll have it down in no time.
- Pick your protein, a healthy fat, and carbs (see list below).
- Cook, sauté, grill or bake your protein. Make a few servings worth so you have leftovers.
- Steam or sauté your vegetable in coconut oil or ghee, or eat raw.
- Add herbs or seasoning to your dish to spice it up. A few favorites: garlic powder, Himalayan pink salt, lemon pepper, cilantro, oregano, paprika.
- Combine protein with carbs and top with more healthy fat if needed (nuts/seeds, an avocado, drizzle of olive oil)
- Make sure you are sitting, relaxed, and chewing your food until it is liquid to help with digestion and absorption. If you’re hungry within an hour later, add more protein and healthy fat next time.
What to eat
Quality matters when it comes to protein, especially with animals. Try to source from a local farmer or shop at your farmers market to find grass-fed beef, free-range turkey and chicken, wild-caught seafood, etc.
- Brussels sprouts
- green beans
- leafy greens
- grass-fed butter
- coconut milk
- full-fat cheese
- macadamia nuts
- olive oil
- nut butters
Fats are extremely important for stabilizing blood sugar, building healthy hormones, supporting metabolism, and managing inflammation. But, there are certain fats that are highly inflammatory and can lead to chronic diseases, poor immune function, and digestive issues and should be completely avoided. These include corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated oils, margarine, soybean oil, safflower oil, shortening, trans fats, and vegetable oils. Products that also include these bad fats are chips, cookies, cool whip, trail mixes and granolas and store-bought baked goods, so always read ingredient lists!
Meal examples that put it all together
- Grilled chicken with avocado, pico del gallo salsa, and sauteed kale
- Skirt steak over spinach with sauteed mushrooms, artichokes, and a sweet potato
- Chicken fajita with peppers, onions, avocado, and cabbage with rice or potatoes
- Salmon (baked or grilled) tacos with tomatoes, verde salsa, guacamole wrapped in corn tortilla
- Turkey or beef meatballs cooked in tomato sauce over zucchini noodles with side salad or mashed cauliflower
- Crockpot carnitas over roasted broccoli and butternut squash
- Fritatta bake with eggs, sausage, mushrooms, and spinach
Convenient On-the-Go Snack options
- Seaweed snacks
- Jerky – Krave, Nicks stix, Epic
- Protein bars – Primal Kitchen, Exo, RX
- Fruit & nut bars – Larabar, Kind bar
- Raw nuts – cashews, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds
- Fresh fruit
- Hard boiled egg
- Applegate deli meat
- Smoked salmon
- Half an avocado w/salt
- Jackson’s Honest
- Sweet potato chips
- Terra’s veggie chips
- Kale chips
- Coconut chips
- Plantain chips
- Organic dark chocolate
- Dates with coconut butter
- Homemade protein balls (dates + almond butter + protein powder)
If you want more guidance on building meals, creating a nutrition plan that works for you, and organizing your kitchen so that it’s all super simple, check out my Kitchen Makeover Bundle which includes info packed guides on:
- How to build your plate (specifically for men and for women)
- How to read labels – what to avoid, what to look for, and how to filter through marketing jargon
- What to throw out of your kitchen and what to replace it with
- The steps to take to figure out the right foods for your body
- A basic grocery list to get you started and save you time