Meal Planning

Lunch and Dinner 101

February 04, 2020

As breakfast was previously discussed in complete entirety, it now makes logical sense, that I make logical sense of the rest of the day. Before I delve into this, you should note that no nutritional advice is suited to all people, the following is very general so if you have health concerns or questions, you should seek something more personal by reaching out to a trusted degree accredited nutritionist.

OK, I’ve been here, does this relate to you also?? You think you are doing everything right, you’re eating your best and your exercise is frequent and varying yet sill, you feel less than energetic, your sleep and digestion could improve and you are struggling to shift a little weight that is weighing heavy on your mind.

Here’s where so many go wrong with the idea of a ‘healthy’ lunch and possibly this is you …. Maybe a quick sandwich with ham, cheese, mustard, or ladies, a tuna salad which is literally just tinned tuna, carrot and baby spinach or possibly either of the above on a cracker of some kind…then once you’ve finished possibly your ‘pallet’ needs something sweet to finish it off/then you end up having a mega dinner because you are RAVENOUS, and then just feel down right uncomfortable and struggle to fall asleep and then wake feeling a little nauseous, sluggish and not hungry??…. ffeewww this sounds exhausting even just writing it! Sound familiar? Promise you hand to heart this is so common and honestly, this used to me. In my opinion, ultimately what many Australian’s who are trying to be ‘healthy’ are doing wrong is counting calories and missing nutrients! Fibre, fabulous fats, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, iron, protein, honestly the list is endless so, here’s a few top tips, it’s just the tip of the iceberg but a great place to start.

On vegetables - Not just lettuce and potato, go for the full rainbow, a solid variety of fresh and cooked, dressed in olive oil, dipped in hummus, smeared in nut butter, fermented veggies too. This is one area where moderation doesn’t count in nutrition. Veggies are ultra-important for fullness, improve stool health and frequency (yep I went there, sorry but I generally talk about poop all day long so get used to it), reduce cholesterol, hormone clearance, reduce inflammation, create a healthy micro-biome. again, this list is endless. If you don’t eat vegetables start doing it, start with one cup/meal and work your way up. A perfect day is 5 cups, this really is health 101.

On considering carb intake not energy intake - For the general population (individual needs aside), a low carb diet is best. Nutrient rich slow release carbohydrate sources include (but not limited to); sweet potatoes, chickpeas, lentils, beans, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat. 1 cup here per meal is a good aim, that’s looks something like; a half cup of brown rice with a half cup lentils mixed in with your abundant home-made curry. By monitoring your carb intake, you will naturally prevent blood sugar fluctuations…and watch this for the positive knock on affects > Low carb (whole carb), keeps your insulin levels down, this then reduces your fat stores, this then also keeping your estrogen down (because fat cells make estrogen along with your ovaries, testes and adrenal glands). Avoiding excess estrogen has so many benefits it’s actually another whole article but MEN LISTEN… this is also important for you too for the purpose of optimal testerone levels…muscle and sex drive thanks!

On meal skipping - Having something minimal at lunch or skipping all together is potentially the worst thing you can do. Amongst various physiological reasons this will simply leave you ravenous at dinner and most likely have you diving right into the cheese and bickies as soon as you walk in the door (again, sound familiar?). I work with my clients to avoid being ‘top heavy’ with meals, meaning no skipping or going ‘light’ during the day to avoid ending with a large dinner. I consider lunch to be the most important meal of the day. By having a satisfying lunch, you will avoid over picking in the afternoon and will allow for a smaller dinner. Insulin is least responsive in the evening so by tapering your dinner and aiming to eat no later than 7pm (the earlier the better between 5-7) allows ample time for rest and digest before bed which reduces inflammation and creates a healthy gut micro-biome.

Here’s what your plate (or recipe) should resemble every time:

  • ½ plate full of veggies and salad of all kinds, don’t hold back
  • ¼ good quality protein i.e. grass-fed steak, wild caught salmon, organic chicken, tempeh, mung beans, organic eggs, veggie patty made of beans, nuts/seeds and vegetables.
  • ¼ slow release, nutrient rich carbohydrate.
  • 1-2 tbsp. of fat fats. i.e. olive oil, avocado, coconut milk/oil, crushed nuts and seeds, pesto sauce etc.