How to put together our meals correctly?

The cornerstone of a healthy diet is a varied, regular and balanced meal rich in nutrients. By regularity, we mean at least 3 main meals a day consumed at approximately the same intervals, in addition to which it may be worthwhile to include 1 or 2 snacks according to individual needs. Snacking can prevent sudden hunger pangs, and keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
How to put together our meals correctly?

Ideal meals contain all three of our main nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates.

Breakfast accounts for 20-25% of our daily energy intake, lunch approx. Make up 30%, 20% of the dinner, and about 10-15% of the snack(s).

Special emphasis must also be placed on the distribution of nutrients. Ideally, for breakfast and lunch, this is 40-45% carbohydrates, 20-25% fat and 30-35% protein, while for dinner, reduce the carbohydrate intake to about 35%, the fat intake to 25%, while the protein can be increased to 40%.

If possible, the first meal of the day should be breakfast. It is worth consuming within 1-1.5 hours after waking up. If you are in a hurry in the morning, prepare your breakfast the night before to save time.
Among carbohydrates, it is worth choosing from sources that are rich in fiber and are slowly absorbed, even if you do not suffer from a carbohydrate metabolism disorder. In this way, it is possible to ensure the proper feeling of satiety and to achieve stable blood sugar and insulin levels.

On the other hand, if we choose refined, sugary bakery products with low content values, we achieve a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. The disadvantage of this is that they do not saturate properly, the high blood sugar level quickly drops, so hunger and concentration problems appear again, which can have a negative effect on our performance at school or at work.

As a protein source, we can choose from our foods of plant or animal origin, while sources of plant origin should come to the fore among fats. Fresh vegetables should be a constant part of our breakfast or, if there is no carbohydrate metabolism disorder, a small amount (1 piece) of fruit.

Examples of ideal breakfast dishes: sandwich with vegetables made from whole grain bakery products; scrambled eggs made with zucchini and oatmeal; porridge with fruit and 100% peanut butter; yogurt with seeds and added sugar-free granola; green pea cream with whole grain bakery products and vegetables, etc.

We also avoid extreme distribution of nutrients when eating lunch. If we eat a salad or even a fat-rich meat main course with a fat-rich side dish, we will not achieve the desired effect.

If the lunch is low in carbohydrates, then we do not get the energy needed to complete the tasks ahead of us, while in the case of a meal rich in fat, the feeling of "kayakoma" is guaranteed, as well as the lack of certain nutrients.

In the case of lunch, in addition to protein and fat, always include a source of complex carbohydrates with a higher fiber content (e.g. bulgur, millet, quinoa, basmati rice, etc.), as well as a fresh salad / variously prepared vegetables / pickles. A hearty, filling salad can also be prepared using these ingredients. If it is more difficult to drink at least 2 liters of liquid per day, it is worth supplementing the main meal with a low-energy soup. As a final course, a few bites of sweets are also allowed, preferably with a more nutritious version.

Examples of ideal lunch dishes: vegetable soup, chicken breast skewers with tzatziki salad and bulgur; chickpea meatloaf with pumpkin stew; salmon with roasted vegetables and potatoes; tomato meatballs with durum spaghetti, etc.

In the case of dinner, we try to avoid it being the most energy-rich meal of the day. Ideally, dinner should be eaten at least 2 hours before going to bed.

A good dinner is not too burdensome for the digestive system, but sufficiently filling. Good sleep can be supported by food rich in tryptophan (amino acid), as it produces the hormone melatonin, which is involved in sleep regulation. Foods rich in tryptophan are sources of high protein, such as chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, milk, peanuts, and tofu.

Try to avoid meals rich in carbohydrates. Give preference to dishes rich in vegetables, such as casseroles/stuffed vegetables. Always supplement the dish with fat and a source of protein. Among plant sources, it is worth eating the less puffy versions for dinner.

Examples of ideal dinner dishes: grilled cheese with beetroot risotto; stuffed zucchini ; vegetable casserole; whole grain avocado-chicken wrap, etc.

Made by:
Dietician Vivien Kitti Kovács-Nagy