What’s on your plate?
I hear this a lot from clients. I understand. There are a lot of responsibilities, priorities, goals and deadlines to be met every day. It’s common to put important things at the top of your agenda and sometimes that leads to you not taking care of yourself.
You may get away with it once in a while but if neglecting yourself is a habit, you may find that it catches up with you. There’s no doubt about it being in business may take a toll on your health.
I’m sure you’ll agree that building RESILIENCE and a HIGH ENERGY RESERVE is crucial to help you achieve all your business and personal goals.
To help you fuel your energy reserves, I’ve written a series of posts about:
FIVE SIMPLE HABITS
1. Eating regularly – every 3-5 hours (3 meals and 2 snacks (if required per day)
2. Powering energy with protein
3. Plate balance at every meal
4. Introducing easy movement and activity every day
5. Being hydrated
Today I’m going to share the benefits of balancing your plate for energy.
What’s on your plate?
With regards to enjoying an even level of energy throughout the day there is a simple formula for plate balance, one that you may choose to use at every meal time without anyone else even noticing you’re influencing your food plan and ultimately your energy levels.
Habit #3: Balancing Your Plate at Every Meal
Imagine your plate divided into quarters, with one quarter filled with protein (which should be a palm-sized amount or a quarter of your plate) and one quarter of your plate with low GL carbohydrates and the remaining half of your plate filled with non-root vegetables and salad.
QUICK GUIDE: PLATE BALANCE FOR LOW GL eating
- ¼ plate protein
- ¼ plate LOW GL carbohydrate
- ½ plate vegetables (non-root) and salads
1. Choosing PROTEIN
Meat, poultry, eggs, fish, beans, nuts and seeds, pulses, vegetarian protein (soya and tofu) or even protein powders can help. They do not contribute to glycaemic load. Dairy foods contain some protein but also fats and sugars. (Read more here: Blog – Fly through your business day without Energy Slumps.)
2. Choosing Low GL CARBOHYDRATES
This is an underpinning principle for balancing blood sugar i.e. IMPORTANT TO GET THE PORTION SIZE RIGHT!
Carbohydrate foods include: bread, pasta, rice, grains, cakes, pastries, biscuits, root vegetables (e.g. carrots, beetroot, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnips, sweet potato), fruit and fruit juices, alcohol, soft drinks (e.g. fizzy cola, lemonade, mixers, flavoured sweetened water).
What is Low GL?
GL stands for Glycaemic Load and is a way of measuring how much glucose is in a portion of food. This follows on from the GI diet of a few years ago. GI stands for Glycaemic Index, which is a way of ranking foods; those with a high GI rating are high in glucose. (Read more here: Blog – Low GL Food Plan).
Suggested Low GL foods for your ¼ plate:
- Wholegrains – rice, pasta, bread.
- Starchy root vegetables – carrots, potatoes, beetroot, squash, pumpkin.
- Fruit – low GL varieties are berries. Mid range are apples, pears, oranges. Tropical fruits tend to be a higher GL e.g. mango, grapes, banana, pineapple – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat tropical fruits but be mindful about portion sizes. Choosing small sized individual pieces of fruit also helps manage GLs. Aim to eat 2-3 pieces of fruit a day as a maximum.
TIP: Minimise highly refined carbohydrates and high sugar food and drinks e.g. white bread, rice, pasta, pastries, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, alcohol, fruit juice.
TIP: American-style measuring cups are useful for portion control – one cup of cooked grains/root vegetables tends to be a quarter of your plate. ½ cup of uncooked grains will expand into a cup when cooked.
3. Choosing VEGETABLES for your ½ plate
Fill the rest of your plate with leafy greens, non-root vegetables and salads. Think of choosing a wide variety of vegetables and following the concept of “eating a rainbow” will help you choose wisely.
Eating half a plate of veggies/salad with each meal and you’ll easily reach a healthy target of 7-9 portions of vegetables a day
- Add a salad to your lunch sandwich
- Always have 2-3 portions of vegetables or salad with your main meal
- Have soups as a starter or snack
- Try a green smoothie or juice (keep fruit content low)
- Add tomatoes/mushrooms/spinach/asparagus to a cooked breakfast.
“Whatever is on your plate is there because
you said YES to it”
Aim for PLATE BALANCE at every meal not just knife and fork meals
If you apply PLATE balance every time you eat, that’ll really help you to get the balance. It’s easy to apply to traditional meals, when you’re sitting at a table using cutlery, however it’s important to use this principle for all other meals too e.g. sandwiches, salads and soups.
Sandwiches – think BALANCE – how much bread do I need for my ¼ plate balance? 1-2 slices would be ideal or maybe have an open sandwich. Avoid large rolls and full size baguettes. Protein – if it’s a bought pre made sandwich check the filling – if there’s not enough protein then buy a side order of additional filling. Add a large side salad to complete the perfect balance plate.
Soup as a main meal – think BALANCE – if your soup is mainly root vegetables, you can add chopped cooked chicken or fish or lentils or beans for protein and a couple of handfuls of spinach or broccoli for the greens. Choose your base soup wisely avoid high GL choices like carrot, sweetcorn, potato, noodles.
Salads as a main meal – think BALANCE – do I have a good green leafy salad base – at least half a plate? Is there a ¼ plate of protein? What is my Low GL carbohydrate choice? E.g. ¼ plate of grains, a slice of wholegrain bread or 2 oatcakes or some cooked sweet potato or beetroot or maybe you’d like a small fruit salad or small banana to make the ideal meal.
Remember the key benefit of balancing your plate at every mealtime is to have even energy levels throughout the day.
You can do this wherever you are without any special plans – all you need to do is glance at your meal choice and add anything that’s missing.
Habit #3 is great because it’s so easy to do anywhere and in whatever situation you find yourself in at meals. No planning ahead or preparing – just making the right decision about what to eat and in what proportion.
RECAP: FIVE SIMPLE HABITS to enjoying HIGH FLYING ENERGY
- Eating regularly – every 4-5 hours (3 meals and 2 snacks (if required per day))
- Powering energy with protein
- Plate balance at every meal
- Being hydrated
- Introducing easy movement and activity every day
Please look out for more articles from me on THE FIVE SIMPLE HABITS.
INVITATION to you to join my private Facebook Group – HIGH FLYING ENERGY for Business Leaders – for more tips and resources (High Flying Energy Facebook Group).