Did you know that obesity prevalence in the United States soared to 42.4% from 30.5% in 2000 to 2018? This is often linked to health conditions such as stroke and heart disease.
As if that’s not enough, America is now under the grip of the diabetes epidemic, with over 30 million affected. These prevalent conditions are some of the leading causes of death worldwide. So the message is clear that an unhealthy lifestyle is killing us!
Don’t panic yet because these conditions are preventable. One way of doing this is through proper meal prep. Read on to find out more about meal prep and the essentials of a well-balanced meal.
What Makes a Well-Balanced Meal?
As every individual is different, there is no one right habit or diet. Factors such as your weight, age, and health conditions influence the right type of meal for you. The key to a well-balanced meal, therefore, is getting all the essential components in one plate.
Simply, a well-balanced meal should contain the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. To help you understand better, let’s tackle these components individually.
Carbohydrates Are a Must
You can find a variety of carbohydrates in an array of foods, both healthy and unhealthy. Among the most common form of carbohydrates found are starches, sugar, and fibers.
Carbohydrates are an important part of well-balanced meals. This is because they serve as the body’s main source of energy that enables us to perform our daily activities.
As such, they must compromise at least 55% to 60% of your diet including brown rice, potatoes, pasta to oatmeal. These are some carbohydrate-containing foods that you can choose from.
However, you have to be wary as not all foods that contain carbohydrates are healthy. Unprocessed foods, beans, and vegetables, for instance, are healthier sources of carbohydrates.
Also, make it a habit to eat wholegrain carbohydrates as it also provides vitamin B and fiber. Fiber ensures that your bowels are working properly. While vitamin B helps the body maximize the energy it receives from carbohydrates.
Further, you should also avoid pastries, sodas, and white bread. The carbohydrates in these are easily digested, which can lead to weight gain. In worst-case scenarios, you might develop obesity and diabetes.
Don’t Leave Out Proteins
Proteins contain amino acids that the body needs to build, maintain, and repair cells. Hormones and enzymes are also made from proteins which are essential for growth. They also help make antibodies that make up the immune system.
Foods that contain the protein are often classified according to the amount of amino acid they have. For example, animal products like beef and seafood are “complete” proteins as they contain all essential amino acids. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are also part of the higher quality protein.
Meanwhile, plant proteins like nuts and beans lack at least one essential amino acid. As such, they’re known as “incomplete” proteins.
Don’t Forget Your Fats
Besides carbohydrates, fats are also a great source of energy. Fats help insulate the body and protect internal organs. Females, in particular, need a certain amount of fat for a healthy menstrual cycle.
When it comes to meal prep, choose the type of fats you consume rather than cutting down on fats. Focus on eating “good” unsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, and sunflower seeds. Choose healthy oils like olive, corn, canola, and others.
Avoid fats found in processed foods called Trans fats as much as possible as they pose a higher health risk. You should also limit the intake of saturated fats found in red meat, ice cream, cheese, and butter. Plant-based oils like coconut and palm oil are also high in saturated fats.
Vitamins Make a Well-Balanced Meal
Vitamins help in the conversion of food into energy. They’re also vital in the creation of red blood cells and in strengthening the immune system. In addition, vitamins go hand-in-hand with minerals in preventing illnesses and enabling the body to function.
Some of the vitamins that your body needs but can’t produce are vitamins K and D. You can get them from eating green leafy vegetables and drinking fortified milk.
When adding vegetables to your meal, cook them as light as possible to keep their crunchy texture. Steaming or microwaving vegetables is advisable as more vitamins get retained this way.
Calcium, sodium, zinc, and potassium are only some of the minerals that your body needs to perform certain roles. Calcium, for instance, is essential in bone and teeth formation. Meanwhile, sodium and potassium helps in muscle contraction and regulate body fluid.
How to Achieve Health Goals With Meal Prep?
Meal prep is an essential practice in living a healthy, balanced life. Meal preparation ensures that you get your dose of nutrients in pre-determined portions.
Meal prep will also help you regulate what you eat so that you don’t overindulge. This is not only vital in achieving diet goals but is also cost-effective.
There are countless healthy meal prep ideas that you can adopt. It’s a matter of finding which works best for your daily life, budget, and time.
Have a hard time coming up with meal prep ideas? Don’t fret, as there are various meal prep services that you can use. Companies such as Athleticsfit have meal prep delivery services that you can take advantage of for a healthier lifestyle.
Start Your Healthy Lifestyle Journey With AthleticsFit Today!
Are you looking for the best meal prep service in South Florida? Want to enjoy services that can provide you with a variety of well-researched meals every day? AthleticsFit is at your beck and call!
Our team of experienced chefs and nutritionists promise you the finest meal there is. Made with nothing but fresh, locally sourced, and high-quality ingredients, you can rely on us to prepare your meals.
Unlike most service providers, we value our customer’s unique tastes, which is why we have over 700 meal combinations ready for you. Should you request a customized meal, our team is always prepared.
What are you waiting for? Talk to us today and start reaping the benefits of a well-balanced meal.