How to Contruct a Balanced Meal
Both Tom and I (Carol) bought into the notion that “you are what you eat” a long time ago, hook, line, and sinker. While restaurant food tastes good going down, we don’t subscribe to it as a regular way of eating, preferring less fat and salt and controlling the quality of ingredients.
Recipes abound everywhere: this post is for those who have crossed our paths as practitioners, who, when asked about their diet, reveal they don’t cook because they don’t know where to begin.
This is the template of our basic recipe, developed over the years, which includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that works for our body types. You might find an adjustment of proportion will work better for you.
Meals of endless variety are made based upon choices that balance out these three components, first choosing the protein (animal or plant source), and finding grains or starches, vegetables, and lastly, flavors that blend the components together. Fewer pots and pans to clean, too!
Putting this all together is accomplished in three easy steps:
Step 1: Measure out the grain and put it on the stove, fire up the oven to bake the potato (sweet or white), or heat water for the pasta
Step 2: When you prep the vegetables, start with the denser vegetables and work your way up to leafy greens. Our method for efficiency is to start the cooking after most of the prep work is done, cleaning and cutting up the leafy greens once the main cooking is underway.
Step 3: While this is cooking you can start prepping the protein component by seasoning or marinating. Most of the time the protein is mixed within this vegetable mélange. There are a few exceptions, such as marinated tofu or fish fillets, which are lightly fried in a separate pan.
→ NOTE: The general rule of thumb in a Mediterranean-type diet has meats and fish fitting in the palm of your hand, which roughly equates to a portion of ¼ pound per person for meat, and ¾-to-one pound weight per person for fish.
These are some of the ingredients we use:
° Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
° Vegetables: onion & garlic, root vegetables (carrots, turnip, beets, etc.), juicy vegetables (summer squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.), leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
° Starch: potatoes (white, sweet), grains (rice, millet, quinoa), pastas (couscous, orzo, hard)
° Soy: tofu, tempeh, miso
° Beans/legumes: black beans, kidney beans, white beans, red lentils, green lentils, etc.
° Animal: poultry, fish, pork, beef
° Fish: halibut, trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna
→ PLEASE NOTE: all fish are equally fish, but not all fish are equally good for you! Here’s a website that responsibly informs you which fish are safe to eat and which are not, so you can make informed choices and occasionally enjoy those in the “grey” area without fearing retribution.
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We’re located in the DTC, in Centennial, near Greenwood Village, Englewood, and Cherry Hills, Colorado.
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