5 Rules To Building A Nourishing Meal – LEAH ITSINES

5 Rules To Building A Nourishing Meal

Sometimes healthy eating can feel SO overwhelming!

How many times have you stood in the kitchen and thought, 'What can I make that's easy, healthy and tastes good?" And felt stuck!

This is when I like to go back to basics and follow my rule of 5 to creating a nourishing meal.

These 5 rules simplify EVERYTHING!!

They're my pillars to enjoying not only healthy but also delicious and easy meals.

So next time you get stuck, come back to this.

There's no more stress or overwhelm when you follow the rule of 5. YAY!

And if you need more help with portion sizes and ideas be sure to check out my blog post; Your Guide to Portion & Size Control.

So let's get into it...

1) Choose your protein

When it comes to fuelling your body, protein plays a crucial role. It's helps you build and repair muscle, ensures your organs function properly, strengthens your hair and nails, and promotes clear skin!

What more could you want??

Protein is incredibly important for your energy levels and physical strength, and with out it your body can slow right down.

25% of your meal should be dedicated to a nourishing form of protein. I'm talking read meat, black beans, eggs, tofu or chicken!

2) Add your vegetables 

I LOVE veggies - they are so versatile! Plus, they are a super important part of living a happy and healthy life. Vegetables are big sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Building up your plate with fresh and cooked veggies also adds variety and flavour to your meal. For instance, pairing fresh baby spinach and roasted beetroot gives you this delicious salad!

You want to aim for 50% of your plate to be covered by fresh and/or cooked veggies!

3) Pick your complex carbs

Let's make this very clear!! Carbs are NOT bad for you. Your body needs carbs for energy - the key is to choose HEALTHIER, slow-burning complex carbs, instead of avoiding them all together.

Typically, Complex carbs are less refined and will give longer, more sustained energy - compared to simple carbs, which will give you a quick spike in energy levels e.g. table sugar, doughnuts, syrups and sugary cereals.

You want 25% of your meal to be packed with complex carbs, which include a variety of fruit, vegetables and grains, such as sweet potato, brown rice, oats and quinoa. 

4) Don't forget your fat

Fat can be scary word but it's very misunderstood. Over the years, you have probably been told how 'bad' fat is for your body but this isn't the case! Fat has many important functions, including stabilising your mood and energy levels. 

The thing to understand is that not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats and trans fats are not great for your health and commonly found in deep fried fast foods and packages or processed foods. 

What you want are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats - conveniently found in plant-based foods and fish, including nuts, seeds, good oils e.g. olive oil, avocado and fish.

You need a smaller amount of fat than every other part of your meal so be sure check out my blog post - Your Guide to Portion & Size Control - for correct portion sizes!

5) Don't skip on the flavour

Now that you've chosen all your key components, it's time to make your meal SUPER delicious. 

Herbs and spices are the key to making any meal taste amazing!

I can't create a meal without them.

Roast your veggies with salt and pepper, marinate your beef with chilli and coriander, cook your quinoa in veggie stock, bake your chicken with lemon juice, add garlic to your salad dressing.

It's these added steps that will make all the difference. 

No one likes eating a bland healthy meals! You want to eat mouth-watering healthy meals, so don't skip this rule.

 

Portion size and guide

 

HOW TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

My favourite and simplest way to apply all the rules is to create a nourishing bowl.

Now this is just one way to create a balanced meal!

There are so many ways to apply the rule of 5 and I'll always encourage you to get creative.

BUT for those of you who are questioning how to get started and combine the rules...this is the perfect place to start!

Creating a nourishing bowl is as easy as 1 2 3...

1. Choose one protein, one fresh veg, one cooked veg, one complex carb and one fat. 

2. Cook the ingredients that need cooking and don't forget to add your choice of herbs and spices.

3. Combine all your ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!!

How easy is that!

And if you need a recipe for even more inspiration...

...then my Quinoa Fried Rice is the perfect example of a nourishing bowl - just add some tofu or chicken in there for your protein and you're all set!

 

Try out my rule of 5 this week and let you know what you think via Instagram @leahitsines.

I loving seeing and sharing all your AMAZING creations!

Happy cooking,

Leah x