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THE ABCs OF “HAPPY MEALS”

March 1, 2015

“Happy Meals” are no longer just limited to the famous Golden Arches.  The concept of “Happy Meals” has transformed itself throughout the story of my life.  From my early introduction of the original “Happy Meal” at the young age of 3 of nibbling on crispy fried McNuggets and greasy fries to my Happy Meal days in college of white carbohydrates of pasta and pizza which fueled me for arduous exams and soothed my hangover from partying the night before.  My definition of the term “Happy Meal” has changed with age and experience as to what works with my body as I get older. Since becoming a blogger and an advocate of healthy living over the past 6 months, I’ve come to the realization that strict diets, processed foods, refined sugars, binge drinking, and those “old feel good foods” don’t work. Instead, I have come up with a simple formula which I apply to every main meal that I eat whether I’m on the go, at a restaurant, or at home cooking, and it’s The Simply Delish 2015 “Happy Meal”! Hold your horses, so you may be thinking I’m copying McDonalds idea, but not exactly! Instead I’m taking the concept of a “Happy Meal” and redefining it as the “Happy Meal” to be your best!

 

SIMPLY DELISH HAPPY MEAL :The optimal mix of foods to fuel you, satisfy hunger, curb cravings, maintain a healthy weight and blood sugars, and create an overall better mindset and mood all day long.

 

Luckily, I want to empower you with the ABCs of creating a 2015 SIMPLY DELISH HAPPY MEAL, one that will keep your metabolism burning and churning all day long! 

 

 

ALWAYS HAVE A PROTEIN FOOD WITH EVERY MEAL

Consuming quality protein with every meal is key to an optimal diet. Quality proteins are lean unprocessed meats, fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian you can get your protein from soy, tofu, beans, and other plant enriched protein.

 

BACK TO BASICS

Keep meals and foods as basic as you can whether you’re snacking, cooking in your own home, or at a restaurant.  Think fewer ingredients, and go for more natural wholesome foods. Single ingredient foods, like fish, chicken, peas, carrots, bananas, peanut butter, and, olive oil, Always try to have greens with most of your meals. Natural unprocessed foods like single ingredient foods will digest better in your body and giving it more energy.

 

CREATE HEALTHY MEALS WITH A LEAN PROTEIN, HEALTHY FAT, AND LOW TO MEDIUM GI CARBOHYDRATE (NO WHITE CARBS)

Keep your meal ingredients to a minimum and be sure to include a source of a lean protein, healthy fat, and unrefined low to medium carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are good for you as long as your choosing unprocessed, no white, and low to medium glycemic index foods which prevent blood sugar from rising.  Healthy carbohydrates are whole grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, and dairy. Your diet should account for 45-65% of your diet.   

 

DELIGHT IN HEALTY FATS 30-35%

Focus on a diet rich in monsaturated fats such as avocados, plant based oils, seeds, and nuts.  Other healthy fats are polyunsaturated which are fish, tofu, soy, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, and corn. Your daily needs should have 30-35% of healthy fats spread out over you daily meals. Monounsaturated fats are Good fats. Monounsaturated fats are actually the healthiest form of fats and have many great benefits which are lower risk of contracting diseases- heart disease, breast cancer, stroke,  alleviate pain and inflammation in the joints, speed weight loss, shrink belly fat, and contain a high levels of vitamin E.  Try to have monosaturated fats as your fat of choice. Avoid all saturated and trans fats.

 

 

EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS

Minimize processed and packaged foods as much as possible. If you’re craving blueberries rather than eating a blueberry muffin from the store, go for blueberries.  If you have time to make blueberry muffins search for recipes that cater to clean and health eating that use the least amount of ingredients and are basic, or buy ones that specialize in healthier versions.

 

 

EDIBLE HEALTHY DESSERTS

Once you become a Simply Delish Convert, or Clean Eating Connoisseur, your cravings for sugar will dramatically diminish, because your body will will be satisfied with a balanced diet rich in healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains. However, every once in a while you may want something sweet.  Go for desserts that are typically healthier and use the least amount of ingredients like Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten free. Also, go for desserts or recipes that use natural sugar like fruit, stevia, honey, or coconut. Baking your own desserts weekly from healthy recipes online is a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth over buying packaged treats. 

 

FOCUS ON PORTIONS AND NUTRIENTS NOT CALORIES

Besides buying packaged healthy foods to look at nutritional infromation, when eating meals focus on portions and nutrients rather than calories. So many times people gain their weight back after going on strict diets, because these diets are restrictive in calories and essential nutrients like carbohydrates. Get familiar with what a healthy portion looks like and always go for serving sizes and one plate, unless you’re a competitive athlete that needs more fuel than a normal person. A great strategy to maintaining a healthy weight is to fill up your plate  with bigger portions of protein, fiber, and greens over starchy carbohydrates. 

 

GO FOR SMALLER MEALS AND EAT MORE FREQUENTLY

I’m such a big fan of this principle.  Eating smaller meals and more often prevents binging and controls appetite, maintains steady blood sugars, increases metabolism, promotes better concentration and mood, maintains muscle mass, and better portion control.  

 

HAVE A PLAN

Healthy eating means planning before.  Going to the grocery and making a list of foods you need for the week as well as foods to take with you when you’re on the go or traveling.  Typically when most people crash and burn in their diet is when they have no healthy food choices in sight and this is usually during traveling, and when one is super busy in that they have no healthy choices to eat at.

 

INTERCONNECT THE MIND AND BODY

Find out what foods affect your overall energy, moods, digestive system, skin, inflammation, and sleep. This is super important to finding the right mix of what foods will work to keep you healthy, happy, focused, and performing your best in all your daily activities.  Everyone’s needs are different based on genetics, lifestyle, age, gender, and conditions.  One thing that has helped me in regards to finding out what foods react with me rather than work with the overall wellness of my mind and body is tracking through a journal how my body and energy levels  feel after consuming a particular food.

 

HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE EATING MADE DELISH  MEALS YOU CAN CREATE

 

From the top left corner to across: 1. Smoothie bowl- topped with Granola, fruit (almond milk, peanut butter, banana, 2. Veggie Omelet with avocado and a side of tomatoes 3. Multi-Grain Bread- one slice topped with an egg and sliced avocado.  4. Steel cut Oats with blueberries, straweberries, and add almond, coconut or soy milk.  5. Tilipa, Sweet Potato, and Brocolli 6. Organic Chicken Cobb Salad minus the bacon and you can sub tofu for vegans. 7. Fitness Bread, Gluten Free Bread, or Multi-Gran Slice topped with almond butter and fruit.  8. Egg White Scrambled with veggies and an avocado with mulit-grain toast. 9. Seasoned Salmon with brocolli, and side of qunioa and brown rice mix

 

 From the top left corner to across:  1. Smoothie bowl- Almond milk, banana, kale and ice, topped with almond butter, granola and fruit. 2. Salad Tuna Nicoise. 3. Strawberry, Spinach, and Chicken Salad 4. Overnight steel oats mixed with almond milk and greek yogurt topped with fruit and almond butter/peanut butter  5. Organic Ground Turkey burger on a mulit-grain bun with mango salsa. 6. Apple slices with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips 7.  Gluten Free Pancakes made with coconut flour, and side of almond butter or peanut butter and fruit 8.  Grilled Chicken(add flavor with seasonings optional) with steamed veggies and brown rice  9. Veggies and Hummus

 

From the top left corner to across: 1. Edamame 2. Grilled chicken slices, steamed spinanch and egg whites with multi-grain toast 3. Strawberries filled with yogurt and coconut milk mousse and almond slices. 4. Grilled Shrimp and avocado salad with your choice of other veggies 5. Frozen Dark Chocolate Almond butter banana bites topped with sliced almonds  6. Grilled free range lean cut of beef with veggie stew and with a side of quinoa. 7. Grilled Salmon, side of veggies. Baked Sweet Potato fries with choice of seasoning, and side of hummus.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The nutritional and well-being information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional nutritional or  medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

 

 

 

 

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