Steps to Creating a Balanced Plate



There are two things I know to be true about how most women approach healthy living:

  1. We want it to happen fast- we want tangible results, or else we won't stick to it.

  2. We want it to last- we want to do the thing and have it be the only thing we do to change our lives for good.

The problem is, that neither of these things really work when it comes to creating long term change.

Healthy living requires a mindset shift- away from the short term, quick fixes and into the long game- habits, routines and rituals for a healthier life.

I talk about mindset a ton- unpacking the rules and restrictions we've placed around food, in favor of an intuitive approach.

But many women are left wondering- well, now what? We can listen to our bodies, yes, but balanced nutrition is also an important part to living a healthy life. If we're feeling stuck in the limbo of having released rules and allowing permission, but wanting to live healthy- this is often what draws women back to diet plans. We want tangible tools.

I want to bridge that gap- between permission and nutrition. You can have freedom to eat all types of foods and also have the knowledge of what our bodies need to survive so that you can thrive in your life.


You can have freedom to eat all types of foods and also have the knowledge of what our bodies need to survive so that you can thrive in your life.

No dogma necessary. Just simple foundations for a healthier life.

One of those foundations is creating a balanced plate.


This is something I've talked about for years- and it often gets misconstrued as a rule. So I want to be clear about something right off the bat-this isn't me sharing with you this is the only way to eat, encouraging perfectionism or that meals that don't fit this bill aren't healthy.

This is me providing you with the education behind why balance is important- and giving you gentle guidance for moving towards that place.

Not every meal will look like this. Not every one of MY meals looks like this! Balance happens over TIME. It happens ON the plate- and OFF of the plate.


Some meals will look more carb heavy, more veg heavy, more protein heavy- these meals are not wrong or unbalanced, they're part of the overall balance. Tuning into your body allows you to decide if those meals worked- if they felt good, if they energized you, or simply felt neutral. It also allows you to make a different choice in the future.


Balance is about adjustment- not perfection.


Your goal? Simply move towards what your body is asking for, and what you know feels good.


Knowing what a balanced plate looks like provides empowerment as well as allows for freedom of choice- a gentle guideline means you can fill in the foods that feel good and satisfy, you- with a little structure to serve your body well.


Knowing what a balanced plate looks like provides empowerment as well as allows for freedom of choice- a gentle guideline means you can fill in the foods that feel good and satisfy, you- with a little structure to serve your body well.



What does creating a balanced plate do?


Creating a balanced plate has three main purposes:

  1. Provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to survive (macronutrients- carbohydrates, fat and protein) and thrive (micronutrients- vitamins, minerals and micronutrients)

  2. Balances blood sugar- providing even energy, mood and focus- and managing hunger throughout the day.

  3. Provides you with a gentle guideline to eat a variety of food on a regular basis- and the freedom to eat the foods you choose within that.




What are the components of a balanced plate?


This is the balanced plate principle I practice and I share with my clients each and every day:


1/2 Produce: This is the foundation. Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies and/or fruit- or a mix of both! Plants are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet- they're what basically every single eating style agrees on: plants are king!


1/4 Protein: Whether it be animal-based, or plant-based protein is up to you and what feels best for your body and food values. Protein has been shown to be the most satiating nutrient, reduces hunger hormone ghrelin and provides essential building blocks for muscles and cells. There is no need to over-do it- but around 1/4 of your plate is typically enough to keep you full and satiated.


Around 1/8 starchy carbs and 1/8 fat:


Let's clear two things up, for a minute:


Your body needs carbohydrates- carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of fuel for the body and the brain. Women need a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day to function (no need to track- this just means eating it consistently throughout the day)- but many need MUCH more for optimal hormone balance. The notion that your body functions optimally on a low carb diet is denying our physiology- our body is designed to process and use carbs- there is no reason to fear them!


Your body needs fats- fats are also an essential component of each and every one of our cells; and for absorbing nutrients. Fat-deprived diets are often nutrient-deprived diets.


Start with a decent serving of each and adjust for what sounds good and feels good for you. Some women feel better, especially when they're active, doubling the amount of starchy carbs and only using fat for cooking. Some women feel better doubling up on the healthy fat and adding starchy carbs for flavor and satisfaction. You need both throughout the day- and can interchange these at any meals- this is not set in stone.


I also want you to remember flavor and joy is an ESSENTIAL component to healthy meals. Meals don't just need to fit into these guidelines- meals should be delicious, satisfying and pleasurable. The balanced plate applies to mixed meals (soups, stews, casseroles) as well as bowls, salads and dinner plates. Feel free to add flavor boosts- sauces, dressings, nuts, seeds, dried fruit. A balanced plate isn't meant to be rigid!




With all that being said, I hope this provides you with a little more guidance on what it means to create balance within your meals using some gentle guidelines to empower you in your food choices- freedom doesn't need to feel overwhelming. It's all about releasing the rules and stressing less about food so you can enjoy life more.


Have you ever felt like eating balanced without following a plan isn’t possible for you— but the plans never seem to last?

What you’re missing isn’t the plan that’s going to end all plans— it’s HABITS. But what happens do you NEED to eat in a way that is nourishing but delicious, flexible, energizing and dare I say-- balanced? Balanced Eating Essentials is a mini course designed to teach you just that. It’s centered around the seven essential habits that you need to become a balanced eater- broken up into do-able, actionable steps in a mobile-friendly format, with bonuses like over 100 balanced meal ideas plus recipes, guides to eat balanced on the go and with a family, how to snack in a way that’s balanced and how to apply the seven habits to your everyday life. This is designed to be a course you come back to, anytime you need a refresher on how simple and actionable balance can be. Click here to learn more and join!






Kristin Dovbniak

Welcome!

I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ME

learn to plan + prep

for your personality

Healthy Mama Meal Prep Cookbook + Course

Grab Your Free Guide

stress less about eating + live more

ditch diets, overcome emotional eating + embrace food freedom

4.png

tune in weekly

PC_S3_IG_115 (2).png

Heading 1

Heading 1

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

Browse

Information

© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Balanced Mama