Did you know that September is known as "Better Breakfast Month"? A whole month dedicated to making wiser choices and focusing on fueling your body with all the nutrients it needs to feel full of energy and ready to go throughout the day!
But instead of just focusing on breakfast we're going to be diving into the science behind good nutrition and bringing you some awesome tips so you can create "better" meals throughout the day!
The Components of a Nutritious Bowl (or plate!)
First off, lets get to know the key components to creating a better bowl. Once you've got these under your belt you'll be well on your way to creating the most deliciously wholesome meals!
The Macronutrient Breakdown:
Most of us will probably be pretty familiar with the different macronutrients but lets have a quick recap. Macronutrients (macros for short) are the building blocks of the body and are used to produce cellular energy and growth - basically the energy and growth of the human body! These macros are needed in large amounts by the body which is why its essential that we include all three, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, into our meals.
Carbohydrates: carbs are so often demonized by diet culture and the media but the truth is that carbs are actually the body's preferred source of energy, fueling our bodies, as well as our brains for all the activities we do during the day. You want to aim for wholefood carbs that are unrefined, minimally processed and high in fibre.
Wholesome Sources of Carbs
Wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, rolled oats, whole wheat breads, pasta and cous cous.
Protein: proteins are made up of amino acids and are essential for a wide range of biochemical functions in the body such as our immune system, metabolism, hormone function and muscle tissue building and repair, along with a whole host of other mechanisms! Eating a wide variety of protein will ensure that you're getting all the essential amino acids that your body needs to support all your bodily functions.
Wholesome Sources of Protein
Legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils
Tofu and tempeh
Fats: fats, too, have been demonized in the past, with the popular "fat makes you fat" saying. However science-backed nutrition information shows that our bodies need fats in order to function correctly. Especially for women, fats are vital for the health of our reproductive system and the production of hormones to create a monthly cycle. Fats are also essential for brain function, healthy skin and nutrient absorption. Of course not all fats are equal and you want to make sure that you're choosing healthy sources of fats.
Wholesome Sources of Fats
Nuts and seeds - almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc
Nut and seed butters - peanut butter, almond butter, tahini etc
Extra virgin olive oil
Fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel
But What About the Micronutrients?
If macros are the building blocks then micronutrients are the cement that stick it all together and give the foundation its strength. Micronutrients are the essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to regulate the processes in our bodies, and are needed in much smaller amounts compared with macronutrients. Micronutrients are derived from the food we eat, which is why its important to ensure we are eating a wide variety foods to make sure we are getting in enough vitamins and minerals.
All three macros contain plenty of micronutrients, but making sure you're eating a rainbow of different coloured fruits and veggies is optimal for micronutrient absorption as these tend to be even higher in micronutrients!
Putting it all Together
Using a few basic guidelines and a simple plate method you can build wholesome meals and snacks throughout the day!
A few Guidelines to Building Your "Better Bowl"
Aim to include a healthy source of carbs, proteins and fats into each of your meals throughout the day.
Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Try to include as many different colours as possible - the more colourful, the more micronutrients you'll be getting!
Stick to a predominantly plant-based diet. Studies show that eating a large variety of plants is key to good gut health and has several benefits for the body.
If you do eat meat and animal products try to source it ethically and sustainably - this is better for your body and the planet!
Try to stick to wholefoods, such as wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, free-range eggs and organic meat, and stay away from overly processed foods high in sugar in salt. But of course, life is life and its okay to indulge every now and then!
A general guideline is 80% of your diet made up of healthy and nutritious foods to nourish your body and the other 20% for special treats that will nourish your soul!
Right now for the best part - some recipe inspiration to get you started in the kitchen!
Vegan Lentil Taco Salad
Salina Chicken - Italian Chicken Stew
Well, I sure do hope you're feeling inspired and ready to whip up some delicious, wholesome, nutritious and "better" meals this month! Nourishing our bodies doesn't have to be hard, in fact it can be as simple as throwing a few veggies into a pot and toasting some crispy bread for a soup, soaking oats the night before to decrease cooking time and increase digestibility, taking a few energy balls to work as a snack, or whipping up a quick pasta bake that'll cook in the oven while you're in the shower (but make sure it doesn't burn!).
Share your foodie creations with me on Facebook, we'd love to see what you get up to in the kitchen!💙