Remember, this is just a guideline. Each person’s interpretation of the Foundational Five will be different.
The Foundational Five will work for you whether you enjoy animal-based proteins or opt for a vegetarian or vegan-style diet.
Now that we know the basics let’s talk about the details.
The first element in our Nourish Meal Template is protein. We use the Foundational Five elements of nutrition to make sure you’re getting the most out of your meals.
Macronutrients are important to have in each of our meals for a variety of reasons. Protein plays an important role in keeping you full after meals, aiding in digestion, building muscle and tissue, and supporting immune health.
Protein is found in every cell in our bodies, including the cells that make up our skin, hair, nails, and muscle tone. It is also found in the digestive tract. Getting enough protein is important for our cells, and eating high-quality protein is even better.
Nutrition research has shown that incorporating protein into every meal, especially breakfast, can help to reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and promote satiety. Your protein choices may include plant-based protein, animal-based protein, or both, depending on your particular preferences!
There are many foods that are good sources of protein, including beans, legumes, tempeh, tofu, seitan, quinoa, nuts, seeds, nut butter, grass-fed lean beef, eggs, seafood, poultry, and more.
When choosing animal-based proteins, look for options that are organic, 100% grass-fed, wild-caught sustainable, and humanely raised to ensure a good choice.
Unsaturated fat is the next type of fat we will discuss. This fat is predominantly found in plants and is considered to be healthier than saturated fat. There are always exceptions to general statements.
Unsaturated fats come from two main sources: plants and seafood. What foods come to mind when you think of extra virgin olive oil? Some examples might be olives, avocado oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butter, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. In addition to the above mentioned items, we also suggest coconut and coconut oil. Even though coconut oil is technically an unsaturated fat, it is an exception to the general rule.
Fat is essential for fullness in a meal. Although protein is involved, fat is the main cause.
Omega-3 fats have many health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health and supporting brain health. These fats can be found in fatty fish and some plant-based sources.
It’s also key for proper nutrient absorption. To ensure proper absorption, vitamins A, D, E, and K need to be taken with a fat source. Namely, Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, and E are the vitamins that are good for our brains, cells, hormones, tissues, hair, skin, and nails.
A sufficient amount of fat is necessary for the proper function of organs and cells, as well as for hormonal balance.
Starchy and Sugary Carbohydrates
S&S carbohydrates are the types of carbohydrates that you typically think of when you think of carbohydrates. This category of carbohydrates provides you with energy, so it is important to include them in each meal.
Starchy carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Different tissues in the body use carbohydrates for energy in different amounts and ratios.
This category of carbohydrates includes starchy vegetables like potatoes, quinoa, rice, and bread, as well as peas, pasta, beans, corn, and fruit. All of these foods are packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential for maintaining energy levels, gut health, heart health, and hormone balance. They’ll also help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Make sure there’s a soluble fiber
We recommend beans as one of our cornerstone whole foods to enjoy at most meals! Beans and legumes are great ways to get complex carbs, soluble fiber, minerals, and some protein from whole foods. Beans are also very versatile, tasting great and being easy to find and buy.
Other options for soluble fiber if you don’t like beans are vegetables, chia seeds, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pears, figs, carrots, flax seeds, oats, or barley.
Soluble fiber nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which aids digestion and gut microbiota. Additionally, soluble fiber may reduce levels of hormones that stimulate hunger, which can increase during times of stress, such as fasting, food restriction, or yo-yo dieting.
This group includes starch-containing carbohydrates such as grains, potatoes, beans, as well as fruit and dairy, which contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and sugar than non-starchy carbohydrates.
Although non-starchy carbohydrates don’t provide a lot of energy, they are still an important part of a balanced diet. The carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals are better for you.
When you think of non-starchy carbohydrates, think of greens and vegetables! Leafy greens include arugula, kale, and romaine, while veggies like Brussels sprouts, bok choy, tomatoes, and cucumbers are also important.
Fiber is an important part of any diet as it balances cholesterol levels in the blood, regulates bowel movements, regulates blood sugar levels, regulates your satiety levels, lowers the risk of certain types of cancer, reduces the risk of diabetes, and aids in digestion overall.
The plants that should make up the most of your plate are the leafy greens. Eat as many as you can! The high fiber and water content in avocados help to keep you feeling full and provides your body with the nutrients you need for healthy digestion.
Lastly, we have the flavor factor. This is the fun part!
Your ‘flavor factor’ is anything you add to food to make it more flavorful, such as sauces, herbs, spices, or seasonings. It can also make the food more nutritious.
Herbs and spices not only make food taste great, but they are also packed with antioxidants that help you look great on the outside.
FOUNDATIONAL FIVE PORTION SIZES
The amount of each nutrient you should use depends on a variety of factors such as age, activity level, and if you are trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. We now know which nutrients to include in our Nourish Meal Template, but the amount of each nutrient we should use depends on various factors, like our age, activity level, and weight-loss goals.
In reality, portion size varies from person to person. We have a place for you to start.
Start by adding one serving of each of the five food groups to every meal. The plate method focuses on vegetables since most Americans do not consume enough of them daily.
Portion sizes will vary depending on one’s individual caloric and nutrient needs as well as desired dietary outcomes.
If you want to be mindful of your eating, you can start by following these general guidelines. You can then make adjustments based on how hungry or full you feel.
WHY CLEAN EATING IS PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO START HEALTHY EATING HABITS
Different people have different ideas about what a healthy diet looks like. A small number of people believes that the best way to lose weight is to stop eating carbohydrates entirely. Others believes that the best way to lose weight is to intermittently fast. Making changes to your current diet will help improve your health and wellbeing.
Eating clean means consuming whole or minimally processed foods. Although it is not complicated, it does take some effort and planning. You don’t have to keep track of carbs, sugar, calories, or macros when you follow this diet. It’s not a diet. This is not just another fad diet that you’re going to try for a few weeks until you go back to your old eating habits. This is a sustainable change that you can make for the rest of your life.
I believe that clean eating is the best way to start developing healthy eating habits. It’s simple and really an attainable lifestyle change. Most trendy diets are not sustainable in the long term, or they require too much change too quickly. Who wants to live their life counting macros, net carbs or denying themselves apples? Who wants to feel guilty for eating fresh bread? No one!
Clean eating is a way of eating that lets you enjoy the foods you love with a little more effort on the cooking front, without feeling guilty. How great is that? The process of starting to eat healthy as a beginner is not difficult to understand. If a food item is processed, it likely contains preservatives and chemicals. To avoid these ingredients, look for an alternative food item.
4 HEALTHY EATING TIPS ON HOW TO START EATING HEALTHY FOR BEGINNERS
The first step to eating healthy is acknowledging that you don’t have to deny yourself of all the foods you love. It is necessary to find a balance between eating what you like and making some changes to your habits so that your diet becomes healthier while still being enjoyable.
Many of the tips below overlap and can be used together! Play with those that resonate and leave the rest. Finding the right approach to healthy eating is key to sustaining the change.
. Be easy on yourself when it comes to healthy eating. Be gentle and curious with yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
I know that you all want me to get to the practical steps as soon as possible, and I understand. However, we have to remember that in order to create positive change in our lives, we need to be in a positive emotional state first. It is essential for beginners to have a good foundation for their relationship with food. Although we have been told by the media and diet industry that we need to be restrictive and push ourselves in order to improve our eating habits or lose weight, we all know that this approach does not work.
If you are always putting yourself down and being critical of yourself, you will only feel negative emotions. It is very hard, if not impossible, to improve your situation when you’re feeling this way. SO commit to a kinder way. Step one is to be easy, kind, and curious with yourself. Make changes that will work for you and your lifestyle in a realistic and sustainable way.
Healthy Eating Tip #2 Focus on Real Whole Foods (aka Clean Eating)
The most important change you can make to your diet is to eat unprocessed, whole foods as often as possible. The food we get from the earth and animals are natural and healthy for us.
Your grandmother would love these simple and delicious foods! It is important to include a variety of healthy food in your diet including vegetables, fruits, healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds, and quality proteins like fish, pastured meats, and lentils. Good quality whole grains such as wild rice, oatmeal, and quinoa are also important. Although this change may appear to be small, it is actually very significant! If you’re just starting out with healthy eating, I believe that making this one change is the most important thing you can do.
Healthy Eating Tip #3: Avoid Highly Processed Foods
We want to avoid or minimize highly processed foods, which are made from real whole foods. Foods that are highly processed are typically made in a factory and are designed to taste good but not necessarily be nutritious. Removing processed foods from your diet is one of the most difficult things to do when you first start trying to eat healthy.
There are different types of processed foods. Oatmeal, for example, is only lightly processed, as are sprouted bread or frozen veggies. I am more worried about the evidence that suggests that even unprocessed, whole foods—the very foods that are the foundation of healthy diets—may be wrapped in an invisible package of harmful chemicals. The suggestion that unprocessed, whole foods may be wrapped in an invisible package of harmful chemicals is more concerning to me than processed foods. The highly processed foods that I’m talking about are not food at all. They somehow take up most of the space on grocery store shelves.
These are food-like substances that are not nutritious, meaning they offer no nutritional value and are not satisfying when it comes to feeling nourished and satisfied by your meal. These foods come in packages and can last on shelves for years.
Although these food-like products may taste good because they are loaded with salt, sugar, and low-quality oils, they are not healthy because they are notorious for messing with hormones, blood sugar, and gut health. Choosing foods that are less processed and more whole can improve your healthy eating habits. If you can’t read or understand the ingredients on a label, put it back on the shelf!
Healthy Eating Tip #4 Connect To Your Hunger
If you’re trying to improve your diet, you might look to outside sources for guidance on what and when to eat. What leads to most beginners’ attempts at starting and maintaining healthy eating habits is the fact that they eventually get deterred. The issue with this is that it develops the misguided notion that you can’t trust your physique and immediately severs us from our intuitive hunger signals. The practice suggested here is to stop thinking about what you should or should not eat, and to instead focus on what your body is telling you it needs.
You can drop back into the body by asking yourself two simple questions. Before starting to eat, ask yourself if you are actually hungry. Once you are halfway through the meal, pause and check in with your body to see if you are still hungry or if you have had enough.
If you’ve been eating according to the clock or external food rules, it might take some practice to get used to this new way of eating. But anytime we learn something new, we need to give ourselves time to practice. Allow yourself to feel the bumps as you reconnect to your body, trusting that your body knows what it’s doing.