By Catherine Sebastian, MS, RD, CDN
What exactly is a balanced meal? It’s a question registered dietitians like me hear often.
There are so many factors that help define a meal – there are seasonal, cultural and holiday considerations and occasions, time of day differences, dietary preferences, allergy restrictions, and more. Even the size and frequency of your meals is up for personal interpretation.
While what you prefer for breakfast during the work week is going to be different than what you eat at a family holiday party, both are considered meals, and there are ways to create a something nutritious and balanced in both scenarios.
There are two, fairly easy questions you can ask yourself when making a meal:
- What is my source of protein?
- What is my source of carbohydrates?
These two questions will help you balance out your meal to make sure you are getting enough of the right nutrients. The best part? These two questions work for gut-checking what you’re preparing at any time and for any occasion.
Here is why you should focus on your sources of protein and carbohydrates:
Protein is needed for growth, repair, and maintenance. This includes muscle tissues, bones, nails, hair, skin, blood, and cartilage.
Food sources: Meat, fish, seafood, beans, eggs, nuts, soy
Carbohydrates provide your body with fuel for energy. The fiber from carbs promote good digestion, blood sugar decrease, and heart health benefits.
Food sources: Potatoes, rice, bread, vegetables, fruits, sugar
Libby’s® Canned Fruit & Vegetables are a source of carbohydrates that can provide your body some of the nutrients it needs.
You can easily open a can of Libby’s® fruits or vegetables, add a protein of your choice, and just like that you have an easy balanced meal covering your nutrition basics.
Below are some recipes showing you how Libby’s® can be incorporated into a balanced meal.
A savory, fruit-forward meal using LIBBY’S ® PEACH SLICES (IN HEAVY SYRUP).
Fruits in your main dish, like this one that features LIBBY’S® APRICOT HALVES (IN PEAR JUICE), add a flavorful twist to your meal.
Add some chicken for protein with a can of LIBBY’S® MIXED VEGETABLES in this hearty dish.