3 Simple Tips for Eating a Balanced Meal
Many of us want to eat a healthy balanced food but with several types of diet choices (from Vegan to Keto to Mediterranean to Paleo) it's very easy to get lost in those varieties or confused about what to follow. So my goal in this article is to provide few simple tips around eating a balanced meal irrespective of your diet choices.
So whatever your food habits are (assuming they are not extreme cases like eating a bucket of KFC for breakfast), the following tips if followed consistently would benefit you in the long run.
Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor dietician and the tips I am sharing here are the ones that I followed. Your mileage may vary and if you have any health issues, please consult a doctor as opposed to following this article.
Tip #1 - Eat a Meal Containing All 6 Tastes (Rasa's as per Ayurveda)
Many if not all of us can relate to these two scenarios. We might feel unsatisfied after eating one type of a meal or we might feel tired or bloated after eating another type of a meal. Part of the problem is not balancing our meal with all tastes which would trigger our brain to think that sufficient nutrition is not received.
As per the recommendation by Ayurveda, it is beneficial to include all 6 tastes in each of our meals. They are as follows:
Sweet: This doesn't mean eating deserts but including the foods that have prominent sweet taste like rice, wheat, cereals, dairy, dates, fruits etc. Since these are natural sugars, they provide primary source of energy.
Sour: Sour food helps with flow of saliva in the mouth which in-turn helps the digestion. Some examples are - lemon, fermented food, vinegar, yogurt, tamarind etc.
Salty: Self explanatory and sea salt or Himalayan pink salt.
Pungent: When used in moderation, these would help with digestion and absorption. Foods like hot peppers, ginger, garlic, mustard etc. come under this category.
Bitter: Bitter foods are known to help the body in detoxification. Some examples are - green leafy vegetables, olives, turmeric etc.
Astringent: The foods in this category helps with the waste management system of our body. Foods like okra, green beans, legumes, and fruits like cranberries and pomegranate fall into this category.
Eating balanced meal not only provides sufficient nutrients to the body but also helps reduce or eliminate in-between food cravings. We will be sharing some easy recipes to help you in this transition very soon.
Just do a simple test for yourself by comparing how it feels after 2 hours of eating a balanced food vs eating a heavily processed frozen pizza or plain pasta with tomato sauce.
Tip #2 - Eat Seasonal and Distraction-less
We have the luxury of getting whatever foods from our food market irrespective of the season. This is kind of a curse as in we keep eating the same type of food and ignore the ones we don't like. To avoid this problem, consider eating the foods as per their seasonal availability. This ensures that the body gets a diverse nutrition and foods are generally better in taste and nutrition in their natural growing seasons.
In addition to eating seasonal foods, make sure that you reserve the time for eating to make the experience distraction-less. It might be a common habit for you to watch TV while eating but it's recommended to limit the additional sensory experience our body gets while eating (as per Ayurveda).
Tip #3 - Maintain Consistent Timing and Quantity
Last but not the least, maintain a consistent time-table for eating food. One way to make this transition easier in our busy lives is by considering these tips as a lifestyle choice as opposed to forced habits. After all what good is our 24X7 job and salary that comes with it if we don't have a healthy body and mind.
It turns out that our body's biological clock works in a such a way that based on the time of the day your ability to digest foods varies significantly. One tip that worked out very well for me was to follow the mild intermittent fasting. So consider eating only from 10 AM till 6 or 7 PM and eat satisfactory and balanced food in that time-frame.
Coming to quantity, eating food that satisfies your tummy and having the number of meals limited per day (like not having any snack breaks) helps your body process the food better. There is no set quantity as everyone's body type is different but just feel your body and judge when to stop.
As a side benefit of eating a balanced and satisfactory meal, your cravings for potato chips or other junk reduces drastically.
Bonus Tip - Start a Veggie Garden
I was surprised and shocked by how much of our lifestyle had changed by just having a simple Veggie garden. Not only we are eating organic foods for the most part but also much tastier veggies (ones we grow are more tastier - don't just take my word for it but give it a try).
Having our own garden helps us eat more seasonal foods as nature intends them to be. In addition to that, we tend to eat more veggies and greens simply because we are growing them and generally don't feel like wasting them. As a side benefit, we kind of reduce our waste footprint on this planet.
Ultimately, every person is unique and what works for one might not work for the other. So mix it up until you feel generally more energetic on a regular basis and stick to those tips. Let us know what worked for you in the comments below for all of us to learn as well.
That's all from me and hope this was helpful to you. Peace !!!