With the abundance of conflicting information available regarding how many servings from each food group you should eat, experience tells me that moderation is key. Emphasis should be placed on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates like vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats at each meal and snack.
A simple method to ensure a meal is balanced is to aim for a plate with ¼ protein, ¼ starchy vegetables, fruits or grains, ½ non-starchy vegetables or leafy greens, and ½ – 1 serving of healthy fats (1 – 2 tablespoons low-calorie salad dressings or ½ tablespoon oils.)
This one-day sample menu has a total of 1200 calories and meets the nutritional requirements stated above.
Breakfast: Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Scrambled Eggs has calories 166, Total Fat 5.36g, Cholesterol 190g, Sodium 256mg, Carbs 8.15g Fiber 2.02g, Sugars 5.79g, Protein 20.11g.
Nutrition Facts: Eggs are packed with protein and a rich source of choline which is essential for cardiovascular and brain function. Zucchini provides significant amounts of fiber and the skin is rich with the antioxidant nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
Recipe Link: http://motherrimmy.com/zucchini-scrambled-egg-recipe/
Mid-morning Snack: Whole Grain Apple Walnut Bread has calories 211, Total Fat 8.03g, Cholesterol 23mg, Sodium 235mg, Carbs 31.48g, Fiber 3.53g, Sugars 13.34g, and Protein 5.47g.
Recipe Link: http://motherrimmy.com/whole-grain-apple-walnut-bread/
Mid-morning Snack Alternative: 1 cup celery, carrot, cucumber and zucchini sticks with 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon minced chives. Calories 81, Fat 1.2g, Saturated fat .7g, Protein 14g, Carbohydrate 3.1g, Fiber .6g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 459mg
Nutrition Fact: Apples add fiber and antioxidants to the bread, while walnuts add omega 3 fatty acids. Celery adds crunch and satisfaction for negligible calories, while cottage cheese provides protein.
Lunch: Spicy Thai Chicken and Vegetable Soup with 220 calories, Total Fat 5.47g, Cholesterol 72mg, Sodium 1049mg, Carbs 10.9g, Fiber 2.94g, Sugars 5.45, and Protein 29.32g.
Nutrition Fact: Chicken is a good source of protein, but also B vitamins such as niacin, which aids metabolism, B6 for blood sugar maintenance and B12 for energy and red blood cell maintenance.
Recipe Link: http://motherrimmy.com/thai-chicken-and-zucchini-noodle-soup-recipe/
Mid-afternoon Snack: 1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Crunchy Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds Calories 180, Fat 7.32g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 12mg, Carbs 32.13g, Fiber 7.4, Sugars 22g, and Protein 7.5g.
Nutrition Fact: Apples satisfy the sweet tooth, but also provide a dose of immune-boosting vitamin C and pectin, another form of filling fiber.
Product Link: Trader Joes Trader Joe’s Crunchy Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds http://traderjoes.com/digin/post/crunchy-salted-peanut-butter-with-flax-and-chia-seeds
Dinner: Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Quinoa and Avocado with 251 calories, Total Fat 7.82g, Cholesterol 142mg, Sodium 1264mg, Carbs 24.72g, Fiber 7.99g, Sugars 10.95, and Protein 20.33g.
Nutrition Facts: Quinoa is a complete protein that provides all essential amino acids, and chickpeas are a significant source of fiber. Combined they help regulate blood sugar.
Recipe Link: http://motherrimmy.com/mediterranean-chickpea-bean-chopped-salad-recipe-with-quinoa-and-avocado/
Dinner Alternative: Store purchased frozen meals under 300 calories with less than 500mg sodium and a significant portion of vegetables. An example would be Healthy Choice Chicken Pasta Primavera.
Supplement meals with 8 glasses of water, tea or herbal tea, and black coffee as desired.