There's no doubt that to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we consume. I've written many articles about this.
A problem many of us face when losing weight is where do we start? What do we eat? What should your plate look like?
By the end of this article, you'll have a good idea of what a well balanced meal looks like. You'll learn simple habits to adopt when building your meal and how to put it into action. Step by step, here's how to build a simple, balanced meal for weight loss.
You see, there's so much information out there on the World Wide Web that it's hard to sift through the facts and fiction. In today's social media, if you're a celebrity, or have abs, you're an expert. What really grinds my gears is seeing these social media clowns spreading information that's as useless as those eyelashes you see people put on their cars above the headlights. If you're outside Australia, google it, just useless. Anyway, what makes me such an expert? Well, I've helped many people lose weight using sustainable methods (which you'll see below), I'm qualified in the nutritional field and I've stepped on the bodybuilding stage on five separate occasions.
Look, I simply love helping people lose weight for the last time, boosting their confidence and helping them feel good about themselves. If you can take one thing away from any of my articles, and use it to your advantage, that makes me a bloody happy trainer. I've been unhealthy, unhappy about my body and confused about weight loss. I've spent hours upon hours studying the how's and why's of the body and nutrition. I've overcome binge eating and soul destroying set backs to get to where I am today and I want to prevent you from making the same mistakes I did.
Let's look at how to build a simple, balanced meal for weight loss.
What Is A Balanced Meal?
A 'well balanced' meal is one that has a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Now, this is a very large umbrella which is why I'm going to jump into more detail later on. Everyone's 'balance' can be different so it's important to understand your body and listen to it when it's talking to you. In this article, I'm going to cater for the majority of us who exercise a little, want to lose weight and get healthier overall. I'll show you the best place to start.
How To Build A Simple, Balanced Meal For Weight Loss
Step #1 - Choose Your Protein
This article isn't about the importance of protein. I've already mentioned that here so go have a read and come back if you're not sure why protein is important for weight loss. I've purposely put protein as the first step for two reasons:
When building your meal, adopt the habit of asking yourself "where's my protein coming from in this meal"? Straight away you begin to look for a solution. You start searching for protein sources on your quest for hunger satisfaction which means two more things:
Some of the best sources of protein are:
This is a great guide from Precision Nutrition. Please know it's only a guide to show you approximate portion sizes and yours' may vary.
Aim to add a source of protein with every meal you eat.
Step #2 - Choose Your Colour
The next step is to choose your colour and by colour I mean vegetables. Two reasons why this is the next step:
Here are some colourful options:
Remember, you're not limited to these, they're just options to help you build a salad, fill a sandwich or choose something from a cafe/restaurant menu.
How Much Colour?
Continuing on from our guide above by Precision Nutrition, this picture will give you an idea of portion sizes:
Aim to add some colour with every meal you eat for best results.
Step #3 - Choose Your Carbohydrates
Before we choose our carbohydrates, there's a few things you need to know:
Okay based on the above, you can see where "good carbs" and "bad carbs" come from. To keep this simple, when building your meal, aim for the "good carbs" which are your complex carbohydrates. For example, if you're choosing a sandwich, opt for the wholemeal/brown/seeded bread or if you're making a salad, choose brown rice, sweet potato, pumpkin butternut or even quinoa.
Pro Tip: Generally speaking, no carbs are off limits however, the complex kind will keep you energised for longer leading to a reduction in snacking.
Here's a brief list of carbohydrate sources:
How Much Carbohydrate?
Here's our friend Precision Nutrition again with our portion size guide for carbohydrates:
For weight loss, carbohydrates are recommended to be eaten with most meals, but not all. Super low carb diets aren't sustainable for long term weight loss.
Step #4 - Choose Your Healthy Fats
Fat's are the most calorie dense of the three macronutrients (9 calories per gram) which is important to know because it's real easy to rack up the calories eating them. Fat certainly isn't bad for you, but moderation is the key word here. It's very easy to stack on the weight eating foods high in fat because of their calorie dense nature.
Some quick facts about fat:
Here are some of the best fats to choose from when building a meal for weight loss:
How Much Fat?
Here's Precision Nutrition's recommendation:
Fats are recommended to be eaten with most meals, but not all.
Putting It All Together
Let's have a little recap on what you just learnt. Here's how to build a simple, balanced meal for weight loss.:
If you stick to the above portion sizes and the general guidelines I've laid out in this article, you should have no problem building a balanced meal for weight loss. Remember, this isn't a rule book, it's only a guide to show you what a balanced meal generally looks like and how you could build your meal if out at a restaurant with limited options. Don't forget to download your free healthy food list to help with building your meal here.
Go forth and start building your balanced meals. Taking action is the real key to weight loss success.
I'm in the process of building a weight loss course which gives you access to all the information I've mentioned above plus much more! It's completely FREE but only for the first 100 subscribers. Want in? Simply join our facebook group Healthy Living With D'Arcy Online Coaching and you'll be first to know when it's ready.
Written by Aidan D'Arcy - Personal Trainer Frenchs Forest