A balanced meal should contain all nutrients that our body requires to function. Many people do not even know what these nutrients are.
So here are the basics:
There are 3 macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Then there are the essential micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals. And last but not least there is: Water! Many scientists count water as a macro nutrient as it is so important for our body.
Macronutrients provide the body with energy and are the building bricks of our body. They build our body cells and take over important tasks like building muscle mass, acting as lubricants in our joints or providing fast energy.
Micronutrients are called micronutrients because we only need them in small doses. But without them our body cannot work properly. Vitamins take over regulating functions in our metabolism and are required for our metabolism to work neat and tidy. Minerals are built into our bones, teeth, nerve cells and muscle. We only need them in small doses but without them our whole body does not work.
Water is the ground mass of our body. Without water we ... die of thirst. And this can happen within days as we all know. Water is required for almost all chemical processes in the human body. We hardly ever die of thirst in our first world society, but thousands of people are dehydrated each day without even knowing it, and they hurt their body by doing this.
Go for variety and quality
Coming back to our meal:
How does our perfectly balanced meal look like? Well, it should contain all of the above mentioned nutrients to provide our body with everything it needs.
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation because of low carb and keto trends. This is BS! Carbs are good. They provide us with energy. The only problem that we have is that we eat too much of them. Fill a quarter of your meal with carbs, preferably whole grain carbs as they also provide fiber and vitamin B. For example, this could be couscous, quinoa, potatoes, rice etc.
When it comes to protein the motto is: "Quality first!" Choose what you are eating. There are a lot of low quality meat and fish products on the market. Protein foods are for example red and white meat, fish, seafood, milk products and nuts. Purchase high quality organic meat. Eat fish more often. Studies showed that countries where a lot of fish is eaten have significantly lower rates of heart disease. Salmon or tuna steak are tasty choices for example. One quarter of your meal should be a high quality protein source.
1/2 Vegetables and Fruits:
Veggies and fruits are your Nr.1 source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They keep you healthy, so don't leave them out. Fruits and veggies also contain fiber which is required for a well working digestion system.
There are never enough fruits and vegetables. They are medicine for your body and provide you with so many essential nutrients!
1 or 2 glasses of water:
Drink water to keep hydrated. Many of us are dehydrated without even knowing it. You feel tired when dehydrated and many chemical processes are running less efficient and slower when you drink to little water. Try to drink enough water during the day and also drink it with your dishes. You will feel full earlier when doing this and will have less risk of overeating.