Simple Meal Building
Healthy and apetising meals do NOT have to be complicated. In fact, to be successful in improving the quality of your meals the answer is often to simplify and not complicate.
By having fewer variables on your plate (only 5 main ingredients), it becomes much easier to figure out not only WHAT to eat, but also how different foods make you feel and the impact they have on your health, performance, and aesthetics.
Our simple rule of thumb for learning to create easy, healthy and satisfying meals; is to choose just 5 main ingredients from 5 basic categories:
Protein – examples – chicken breast, steak, pork loin, tuna (pick one)
Vegetable – examples – broccoli, asparagus, pepper (pick one or two)
Fat – examples – olive oil, butter, avocado, coconut oil (pick one or two)
Fruit – example – apple, orange, banana, grapes (pick one)
Starch – example – potato, rice, quinoa (pick one or leave out)
How to follow this rule? Your meals can only consist of 5 ingredients or less. That means 5 whole foods can be on your plate and no more. Dry spices, herbs and salt, as well as vinegars and mustards don’t count towards your total.
The beauty of this rule is that choosing only one of each category gets you a fairly balanced plate without doing much measuring and it dramatically cuts down on decision fatigue. With that being that said, with simplicity comes less options. You may find that limiting yourself to 5 ingredients feels boring. But, the power of restricting yourself to fewer options means that, over time you'll be forced to become more creative with what you have.
Developing culinary skills, figuring out good flavour combinations is all part of the process when it comes to learning how to eat better. In time, as you become more consistent in your eating habits you can learn to succeed outside of this "rule of 5" but don't be too quick to graduate yourself from it.
Some of you I'm sure are wondering about portion sizes. For now, that's not important. Focus on creating 3 square meals a day with 5 different ingredients in each meal and you'll be amazed at how much of a game changer this can be.
Let portion control, for now, be controlled by Tupperware and plate size. If you know you over eat, make sure your meal prepped meals fit inside of an average 1-1.5L Tupperware container. When you eat at home, use a smaller plate and only cover 2/3 of it...without double or triple layering. If you can't get to grips with either of these then learn to use satiety as a cue. If you want to lose weight, learn to stop eating when you feel about about 80% full, If you're trying to gain it then don't stop eating until you feel 100% full...simples.
You might think that this "Rule" is too simplistic, but still to this day if we need to reset what we're doing nutritionally, we always go back to simple; protein, veggie, fat, fruit and carb based meal creations.