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How to Build Healthy Meals: Tips From a Registered Dietitian

     Are you trying to create the healthiest version of yourself but feel trapped in the yo-yo diet cycle? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here at CF Nutrition, we encourage you to eat healthy, well-balanced, nutrient-dense meals. This means there are no restrictions on certain food groups, no starving yourself miserable, and no diet rebound once you’ve finally caved into your cravings for carbs, chocolate, or whatever other foods you’ve villainized.

        Fad diets are a thing of the past, and quite frankly, they don’t work. Research shows that chronic dieting leads to weight gain over time, along with other health complications. Think about the last time you said, “I am going to start my diet tomorrow”. What did you do the night prior? Did you binge on everything you said you were going to “stop eating for good”? If so, you’re not alone. This is what we call the “Last Supper” mentality. As soon as you tell yourself you’re dieting, this idea automatically comes into play, and you tend to eat as much as physically possible. Then, you wake up the next day feeling guilty and then jump right back on the restriction bandwagon. As you can see, this diet mentality DOESN’T WORK. We need to create sustainable, habits to build a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about the Last Supper Mentality and how to stop the diet lifestyle, we recommend Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD.

Rather than trying the newest FAD diet to reach your weight loss goals, we encourage you to create well-balanced, healthy meals that keep you satisfied and give you the energy you need to feel your best. Today, we’re sharing several meal and snack ideas that include each essential macronutrient. These balanced meals are guaranteed to give you energy and still allow you to reach your weight goals. We have included snack and meal ideas for weight loss and maintenance. No matter what journey you’re on, you’ll find an idea for each mealtime. 

        If you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to incorporate all three macronutrients. This includes carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein. One guideline that can help you is the My Plate Method. This involves sectioning off your plate into three parts and will help you to monitor your portion sizes to ensure you are not overeating. To follow this method, 50% of your plate should be filled with vegetables, 25% carbohydrate (whole grain when possible), and 25% lean protein. A good rule of thumb for portioning out protein is to use the palm of your hand. By filling ½ your plate with vegetables, you’ll be getting tons of micronutrients and fiber to keep you satisfied.

        Remember, you don’t have to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time. Weight loss is and should be a gradual process, and it’s crucial to make sustainable, measurable, and practical goals along the way.

Low-calorie Healthy snack ideas

  • Raw bell pepper slices with 1tbs of hummus or guacamole
  • ½ apple or ½ banana with 1tbs of Peanut butter 
  • ½ cup low fat Cottage cheese with flax seeds and cinnamon 
  • 1 hard boiled egg with ½ apple 
  • ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt with ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Serving of whole wheat crackers with 2oz tuna *pro tip use balsamic vinegar instead of mayo when making tuna from a can
  • 1 scoop protein powder, 2/3 cup almond milk, crushed ice, ½ banana 

High Protein Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Raw bell pepper slices with 2tbs of hummus or guacamole and 1 svg of whole wheat crackers
  • 1 apple or banana with 2tbs of Peanut butter  
  • 2 hard boiled eggs with string cheese and ¼ cup of nuts
  • 2/3 cup of Greek yogurt with ¼ cup blueberries and ¼ cup of nuts or 1tbs of peanut butter 
  • 1 svg of whole wheat crackers with 3oz tuna and ¼ and avocado 
  • 1 scoop protein powder with 1 cup milk, ½ banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter and ¼ cup oats (this is a snack version of a smoothie if making for meal double all ingredients)
  • ½ cup oatmeal with ¼ cup of nuts, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, and ½ cup of berries (*try with cinnamon)

Healthy BREAKFAST IDEAS for weight loss

  • ½ cup of oats (NON-FLAVORED), ½ cup of almond milk, ½ cup of berries, 1 tbsp of peanut butter or 1 scoop of protein powder
  • One piece of whole-wheat toast with 1 tbsp peanut butter and ½ banana + ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt 
  • 1 piece of whole-wheat toast with ¼ an avocado and 1 egg
  • Scrambled eggs using one egg and one egg white with veggies and ½ whole wheat bagel

Healthy BREAKFAST IDEAS for muscle gain/weight gain:

  • 1 cup of oats (NON-FLAVORED), 1 cup of low-fat milk, ½ cup of berries, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, and 2 scoop of protein powder
  • 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter and 1 banana +1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt 
  • 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast with ½ an avocado and 2eggs
  • Scrambled eggs using three eggs with veggies and a whole wheat bagel

Healthy LUNCH IDEAS for weight loss:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (find one between 80-110 kcals), with ½ cup of refried black beans (from a can) with ¼ an avocado (If you are at home and need a leisurely lunch, this is great because you have to warm up the beans in the microwave)
  • 2 tbsp of hummus on 1 piece of whole-wheat toast with 2 hard-boiled eggs and ¼ cup nuts
  • 1/3 cup of dry quinoa with 4 oz of grilled chicken and ½ cup of veggies (sub quinoa for whole wheat pasta or brown rice)
  • 2 oz of chickpea pasta (brands I like are BANZA, Barilla) with ½ cup of veggies and 1 tbsp of olive oil (chickpea pasta has protein in it, so you don’t need additional protein)
  • ½ can of tuna mixed with ¼ an avocado, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, onion powder, and cherry tomatoes (this is low carb, can have crackers or toast also)

Healthy LUNCH IDEAS for muscle gain/weight gain:

  • 2 whole wheat tortilla (find one between 80-110 kcals), with 1 cup of refried black beans (from a can) with ½ an avocado (If you are at home and need a leisurely lunch, this is great because you have to warm up the beans in the microwave)
  • 1/3 cup of quinoa with 8 oz of grilled chicken and ½ cup of veggies (sub quinoa for whole wheat pasta or brown rice)
  • 2 oz of chickpea pasta (brands I like are BANZA, Barilla) with ½ cup of veggies and 1 tbsp of olive oil and 8 grilled shrimp 
  • 1 can of tuna mixed with 1/3 an avocado, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, onion powder, and cherry tomatoes (this is low carb, can have crackers or toast besides)

Healthy DINNER IDEAS for weight loss:

  • 1 small baked sweet potato, stuff with ½ cup of black beans, yellow onions, and chopped red pepper (Sauté beans and veggies together in pan and place inside sweet potato once baked)
  • 2 oz of whole-grain pasta with 1tbs of olive oil, ½ cup of veggies and 4 oz of chicken. Option for the red sauce instead of olive oil* (1svg)
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice/quinoa/whole grain pasta, 4 oz chicken/salmon/shrimp, ½ cup of veggie of your choice
  • 1 baked sweet potato (small), ½ cup of garbanzo beans, ½ cup of veggies

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