When you get dressed in the morning, hopefully, it’s not too stressful because you know you need a pant, a shirt, shoes and then accessories.
- Pant = Protein
- Shirt = Vegetables
- Shoes = Carb
- Accessories = Fat
Thinking of your meals this way when putting them together can help simplify meal time.
I can already hear some people saying, “Do I need a carb and and fat and a protein source at every meal?!”
Of course, the answer is it depends. I’m going to say YES you need a protein sources at every meal. You also should have vegetables in at least two meals per day (we give you a pass on breakfast and you can have fruit there instead).
When it comes to how much carb and fat you need at each meal, or for the whole day in general, there’s some flexibility. Some people simply feel better on a lower carb diet. Some people (me) simply feel better on a lower fat diet. You still should be having both throughout your day, but your portion sizes of carb and fat can depend on your goals and preferences (if you’re active you’ll need more carbs than someone who is less active).
Now, I’ll break down the meals from above to show you what the protein, carb, vegetable and fat is so that it’s hopefully easier to throw together yourself!
Cauliflower Pizza w/ Turkey Meatballs
Here, the crust and toppings make up the vegetable part of this meal. The carbs come from the crust of the pizza. The protein is the turkey meatballs I added on the side. And the fat is in the cheese/crust since this is a frozen, store-bought cauliflower pizza.
Cheesy Egg Whites w/ Rice, Kale, Eggplant & Onion
Here, the egg whites are the protein and cheddar cheese is the fat (you could certainly do whole eggs without cheese and the yolks would be your fat source). The carb is the rice and kale, eggplant and onions are the vegetables.
Biscuit, Shrimp & Broccoli
This meal actually inspired this article because it’s not really a cohesive dish, but it ticks all the boxes and is still delicious. The biscuit is the carb and fat source (basically but butter & flour). The shrimp is the protein and the broccoli is the vegetable. Three ingredients, plus hot sauce, and you have a meal.
Blueberry, Chocolate Chip Waffles & Orange
I don’t crave vegetables in the morning so I really try to pack them in at lunch and dinner to get my 4-5 servings per day. Here, the waffle mix is Kodiak Cakes so it provides the protein and carb. The blueberries, chocolate chips and orange are all additional carb sources! And there’s a little fat in the waffle mix and chocolate chips. If I was trying to make this the most balanced meal possible, I might trader the orange for some nut butter to increase the fat content. But I choose the orange for extra fiber and nutrients, this is still very filling for me so it works. If you were starving 30 minutes after a lower fat, higher carb meal like this — I would recommend decreasing the carbs and increasing the fat.
You can probably tell we made biscuits this weekend so they provide the carb and fat source again here. The turkey meatballs are the protein source and the blue cheese is the fat source. Broccoli is the vegetable, while the jam and pretzel chips provide a little more carb. Ideally I would have liked to have some grape tomatoes or another vegetable to put on here, but putting a vegetable on the plate always counts as a win.
Notice I didn’t call any of the foods in these meals “good” or “bad”.
You are not “being good” for having broccoli, you are including a vegetable.
You are not “being bad” for having a biscuit, you’re including a delicious, portion controlled carb and fat source.
If you struggle with defining foods in these terms, I’d love to help you challenge that though pattern and adopt a healthier relationship with food!