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Essential Tips for Healthy Eating: What Should Be on Your Plate?

Updated: Apr 29

Discover the secret to daily nutrition for your goals! Learn how to create balanced plates with PCC - Protein, Carb, and Color for healthy eating.

Round plate with toast, soft cooked eggs and tomato
Healthy, balanced PCC breakfast

Day in and day out, you eat the same meals. You fill your bowl with cereal in the morning, grab yogurt for lunch with some fruit, and make a big plate for dinner. You feel satisfied, or at least you do for a little while before feeling hungry again. You find that your energy level is low and start to wonder, what should be on your plate every day? Is it what I'm eating? Is it my sleep? Let's dive into this week's blog on what should be on your plate for your daily goals.

At Nourished with Emily, and especially inside our Signature Nutrition Coaching Program, we love to start with foundational nutrition changes and approaches we weren't taught in school. Before we give personalized nutrition recommendations, like exactly how many calories you should be eating and what your micronutrient goals are, we like to build the foundation of healthy meals and help you reach your goals by building balanced plates.

Where do we start?

Before we dive into exactly what needs to be on a weight loss plate, let's talk first about the importance of eating regularly and having regular meals. Our bodies are not meant to fast, we have mechanisms in place to help protect our bodies from going too long without eating which then can cause energy and metabolism changes. When we are in a period of fasting, going longer than 4+ hours without eating, our bodies have to turn down the energy-burning rate that we are normally in and go into an energy-sparing mode. This ends up causing bloating, constipation, decreased energy, decreased metabolism, and lethargy as the body is trying to conserve energy until you eat again. Eating regular meals, ideally every 3-4 hours, prevents the body from turning on "energy-sparing mode" and keeps your body working in its prime.

What should be on my plate every day?

There's one simple acronym that should help you with making sure you're getting in the nutrition you need on the plate at every meal, and it's one that we share with our clients inside of the signature nutrition coaching program and the group coaching program. Make your plates have PCC- Protein, Carb, and Color! These three things create your mini-mental checklist to help you build balanced and easy meals to keep you feeling satisfied and energized. The P is for protein. Protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer due to its complexity and nutrient density. Pairing proteins with the C (carbs) helps to slowly reduce energy in your bloodstream over time to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops and help you stay energized for longer. With a more consistent release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, you feel awake, fuller for longer and will have fewer cravings. The last C is for color. This is the KEY piece needed for fullness and overall health. Color, or fruits and vegetables, helps to give you a fuller feeling faster due to the fiber content, along with the aid in constipation relief and better health. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that help to keep you healthy, prevent disease risk, and have you running optimally. This magic combination of nutrients is ESSENTIAL to health and helps you ensure you're getting what you need.

What happens if I can't get all of these nutrients in at every meal?

You're thinking to yourself, Emily, "I can barely stomach a yogurt at breakfast time. How am I supposed to get all that food in at every meal?" Good question! Although we preach the PCC framework for every meal, we know that you may not be hungry enough to have it all or have the opportunity to have everything you need at every meal. Let's go back to thinking about eating every 3-4 hours. Would that mean you need a snack between breakfast and lunch, plus another between lunch and dinner? If you're going longer than that period, then yes! These snacks can be a great opportunity for you to add in whatever was missing from that meal. That may mean having fruit and granola at your midmorning snack, or it means having cheese and crackers at your afternoon snack if your lunch was only a salad. You can move the components around throughout the day to help you meet your nutrition needs.

How much of each ingredient should be on my plate?

This is where we get into personalized nutrition recommendations. While everyone should have PCC on their plate, how much of each piece will be specific for each person. One person may need 1/3 of their plate of each component, especially if they are heavy exercisers or are training for something. But, if you're looking for weight loss, your plate may have a great emphasis on protein and color. It all depends on what your goals are. The Nourished with Emily team can help you figure out exactly how much you should be eating and what that may look like on your plate. This is something we talk about extensively inside our Signature Nutrition Coaching Program and in our 8-week small group program, Building Blocks to a Healthier You! For more information, click the links or send us an email.

It is possible to have a balanced plate wherever you go, you just have to look at what's available and see how to make it happen. Remember, even if you can't get a perfect plate in all the time, look for opportunities outside of meals to help with balance and meet your needs. Nourished with Emily is here to help! Be sure to follow along for more help, tips, and recipes that can help you on your weight loss journey.


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