Having balance within your meal is very important. You don’t want to be eating only veggies, only chicken or only nuts. Each meal should be a balance of all three macros (protein, fat and carbs). Now what that balance looks like, will be totally dependent on you and your body. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa. My first step in creating a meal is to always Prioritize Protein. This is the first building block, will it be a chicken dish? or maybe seafood? Then I go from there. I like to think about my fats, carbs and veggies together so I know it will complement each other. However, RIGHT NOW I am going a little more higher fat and lowER carb (note: NOT no carb), so I tend to add a bit more healthy fats in first. It’s virtually impossible to go absolutely 0 carbs. Vegetables contain carbs, so if you’re eating your veggies like good little boys and girls, then you’re eating carbs too. And THAT’S OK! Your body needs them, for energy among other things. Which brings me to my next point..
Eating food that gives me energy is super crucial. I need something that won’t bring on a crash and that will keep that energy sustained for many hours. Protein and Fats are great choices for this, and why I incorporate them into generously my breakfast. Fats are digested by your body slower than Protein and Carbs, which is why they keep me full for longer periods of time. Finding food and combinations that work for you may take some trial and error, but pay attention to how you feel after you eat. You shouldn’t feel slow and sluggish (think post Thanksgiving dinner). You should feel an increase in energy and alertness. Check in with yourself daily and see if something needs to be adjusted. Often times it can be the amount of food we are eating, not just the foods themselves.
Making sure to get foods that are supporting my health and goals is something I always take into consideration. I want and need foods that are going to reinforce my body and my efforts to help it heal and function properly. Getting enough nutrients definitely falls into this category! I make sure to have veggies with every meal, and a diverse grouping of them as well. This helps cover all my nutritional bases. Giving my body the nutrients it needs creates an environment where the most healing can take place. This is something that is essential for the Autoimmune population and is one of the concepts behind the Autoimmune Protocol.
Last but certainly NOT least, is everything I eat has to be TASTY! I think we can all agree on this one, if you don’t like something, trying to incorporate it into your routine is going to be a struggle, if not downright impossible. So why try? Life is too short for that nonsense! There are numerous ways to make even the most boring food (chicken and broccoli?) tasty. Experiment with flavors, with different herbs, spices and sauces. Create your own! The options are truly endless. Even if you’re following AIP, you don’t have to suffer with just salt. There’s plenty of things still available to us that can transform a dish. Don’t eat something because you think you ‘have’ to. After all, if you’re miserable eating the healthiest of foods, then how healthy will they really be?
Eating doesn’t have to be a struggle at all. If you can say that your meal checks off each of these boxes then you’re well on your way. Just remember, is your breakfast, lunch or dinner the BEST?
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