Are you Eating Complete Meals?

What are the makings of a complete meal? Before I began this health journey I thought anything could be considered a meal as long as it had enough calories. Chocolate chip cookies for breakfast? Why not? Salad with lemon juice only dressing for lunch? Entire bag of popcorn for dinner? That used to be my life and I was unsatisfied all the time, snacking constantly throughout the day. A meal must be complete in order to achieve satiety and eliminate that desperate urge for snacks four times per day. 

A Complete Meal is Important for:
►Controlling your appetite
Reducing stress and inflammation in the body
Turning calories into energy
Weight management
Regulating hormones

A complete meal includes protein, healthy fat and good carbohydrates. The body requires a combination of fuel for maintenance and if it’s not receiving what it needs then your health suffers. All three work to build a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m a proponent of three full meals per day. This gives your body time between meals for rest from digestion. At each meal look down at your plate and ask yourself if you’ve included enough protein, fat and carbs. This way you’ll be less likely to snack.

3 components of a Complete Meal:
Protein
Fat
Healthy Carbohydrate

Percentages of these three components will vary greatly among people. Just as caloric needs differ, percentage of daily protein, fat and carbohydrate follow that same principle. Much of it is trial and error. Listen closely to your body. Experiment. Are you stuffed after lunch? Try cutting down the portion size tomorrow. A food journal can be extremely helpful for monitoring your food and feelings. I kept one for a year before I found the right balance for my body. And that’s still changing. On days with more intense work-outs I up my carb intake. Check in with yourself every month or so and ask if your food or caloric needs require shifting.

Again, the percentage of each component will vary in each person. I personally aim for:
75 grams of protein; 1 can of tuna is 25 grams
50 grams of fat; about 1 tbsp at each meal
100 grams of healthy carbs; 2 cups of sweet potato is 60 grams


Protein, Fat and Healthy Carbohydrates
Quality is everything. That’s the first thing to remember. Focus on whole foods. Eating frozen chicken fingers and potatoes fried in soybean oil is not nourishing your body. All that’s doing is causing inflammation and storing fat. Below I’ve outlined proteins, fats and healthy carbs for creating complete meals.

Protein
Wild-caught fish, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, fish, seafood, any type of red or white meat such as beef and turkey, some nuts and seeds.

Fat
Any type of animal fat from pasture-raised animals, fatty fish like salmon, butter, ghee, olive oil, nut oils, coconut oil and palm oil. Keep in mind the proportion of fat naturally occurring in meat and fish.
Look to my Fats and Oil article for more guidance here.

Healthy Carbohydrates
All vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, rice, other grains and legumes. Focus first on vegetables and fill in with others.


Here are some examples of Complete Meals:

Breakfast:
Omelette with 1-2 cups vegetables cooked in ½ tbsp olive oil
Sausage and a smoothie with mango, kale, avocado and full-fat coconut milk
Scrambled eggs and roasted sweet potatoes in ½ tbsp coconut oil

Lunch:
Big salad topped with salmon and homemade lemon olive oil dressing
Bun-less grass-fed beef burger topped with a variety vegetables cooked in ½ tbsp lard
Chicken thighs and roasted root vegetables cooked in coconut oil

Dinner
Beef chili and turnip greens cooked in lard
Zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce and meatballs cooked with beef fat
Salmon fish cakes with salad greens, raw carrots and olive oil dressing


Resources:

1 Meal vs. 3 Meals, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/3-meals-a-day/#axzz3QnsBlrcD

Effects of dietary fatty acid composition from a high fat meal on satiety, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23688821

How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-much-protein-should-you-be-eating/#axzz3Qnwz6tfx

What’s the ratio fat/protein/carbs Primal Sweet Spot of weight loss?, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread39504.html

Carb/Fat/Protein ratios for women: weight-loss (new to Paleo/Primal), https://www.paleohacks.com/newbie/carb-fat-protein-ratios-for-women-weight-loss-new-to-paleo-primal-22182

9 Paleo Oatmeal Alternatives

Letting go of oatmeal was a painful break-up. I had a special closeness to my morning oatmeal. That bowl of comfort I’d lean onto for support to begin my day. As I transitioned to a mostly grain-free diet I developed recipes that tricked my brain into thinking it was enjoying oatmeal.

Sweets define breakfast in our modern diet. Cereal, muffins, croissants, bagels, granola, protein bars and oatmeal are all just excuses to eat sugar for breakfast. Breakfast should be a complete meal just like lunch and dinner. It needs protein, fat, and carbs to fuel your morning. I am 100% guilty of succumbing to eating dessert for breakfast. Back in my lacking nutrition years, I’d start my day with a vegan cinnamon scone and a decaf soy latte. Then I graduated to oatmeal. And I made it fancy, adding cocoa powder, raisins, peanut butter and lots of honey. No wonder I was always exhausted after breakfast. That much sugar put me into a food coma.

To create oatmeal alternatives, I’ve experimented with various vegetables and fruits mixed with coconut and eggs.  All of the recipes in this list represent a nourishing meal free of little added sugar. The recipes in the recipe boxes were created by me and the others were developed by fabulous wellness chefs and nutrition experts.

List of Additional Toppings:
fresh berries
pomegranate seeds
bacon crumbles
coconut flakes
cacao nibs
any nuts or seeds
nut or seed butters
dried fruit
maple syrup
cinnamon
Paleo Oatmeal Alternatives

Apple Pie Breakfast Bowl
Paleo alternative to oatmeal with apples and coconut milk.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup apple - chopped
  2. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 2 tbsp coconut cream
  5. ½ tsp vanilla
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. dash of cloves
  8. optional: cacao nibs, more cinnamon, maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil over medium heat and sauté apple for 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. To the pan, add 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut cream, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp vanilla, dash of cloves.
  3. Use a silicone spatula to whisk constantly over low heat for 3 minutes. Lift pan from heat if egg begins to cook too quickly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in apples.
  5. Top with cinnamon and cacao nibs. Add a slash of maple syrup if you prefer it sweeter.
Notes
  1. *Variation: Swap the apple with green plantains.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/

21DSDCB_VanillaBean_Shareable-298x300Banana Vanilla Bean N’oatmeal (21DSD) by Diane Sanfilippo

Morning Squash Mash
Serves 1
A sweet squash, one bowl breakfast as an oatmeal alternative.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup squash - baked, peeled and chopped
  2. ¼ cup coconut cream
  3. 2 eggs
  4. ¼ tsp vanilla
  5. ⅛ tsp nutmeg or ¼ tsp cinnamon
  6. Top with cacao nibs, and coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in saucepan except squash and whisk together. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute. Add in the squash and continue to stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. The mixture will the consistency of pudding.
Notes
  1. *Use any type of squash or carrots
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/

paleo-oatmeal- Oat-Free Paleo Oatmeal by Lauren Geertsen of Empowered Sustenance

Pumpkin Pie Parsnip Porridge
Serves 1
Grain-free porridge with pumpkin and parsnips.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup parsnips - chopped into ¼” pieces and roasted
  2. ½ tbsp coconut oil
  3. ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  4. ¼ cup coconut cream
  5. 1 egg
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  6. ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients except the parsnips over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and fold in the parsnips.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/

paleo-oatmeal Paleo Oatmeal by Lauren of Sizzle Eats

Chocolate Breakfast Bowl
Serves 1
Add chocolate to pumpkin and sweet potato for breakfast.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ tbsp cacao butter or coconut oil - melted
  2. ½ cup sweet potato - baked and mashed
  3. ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tbsp coconut cream
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 tsp maple syrup
  7. ¼ tsp vanilla
  8. 1 tbsp cacao powder
  9. 1 tbsp coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except the cacao butter.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add in the chocolate mixture.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, string constantly.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/
Chocolate Breakfast Bowl

Strawberries and Cream Paleo Oatmeal Strawberries and Cream Paleo Oatmeal by Leslie Klenke

nooatsmeal-1024x682Make Ahead No-Oatsmeal by Jackie of The Paleo Mama

Green Super Smoothie

Green Super Smoothie

Happy New Year! Here’s to another year of happiness and continuing the health journey! I have an abundance of goals and ambitions for 2015 and the top of my list is focusing on my health. This means more greens and less sugar. Even those sneaky sugars in fruit and my ultimate weakness, raisins. Dried fruit is candy in disguise. Don’t let it fool you.

An easy way to get in more greens is by adding a handful of spinach to a smoothie. I choose smoothies over juice. Juicing removes all the good stuff and you miss out on the whole food benefits. Why waste all the pulpy goodness? I like to keep my smoothies simple with just a few ingredients. This version is a true green smoothie with no filler fruit. You can play around with different combinations using coconut milk, avocado and lime as a base.

Think of smoothies as a side dish, not a complete meal. It’s important to eat protein at each meal to keep you satiated enough throughout the day. So eat an egg, some sardines or liver to make this a breakfast. Spinach is full of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and folate. Although, our bodies can only absorb about 5% of the calcium in spinach. It has a high oxalate content and this binds to calcium making it unavailable for our bodies to use. Include a source of protein rich in vitamin D to help synthesize the calcium.

Green Super Smoothie
Green Super Smoothie
Makes 1 serving.

½ cup coconut milk
½ avocado
½ cup water
1 ½ tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup raw spinach – packed down tightly

►Add all ingredients to your blender except the spinach. Blend until fully incorporated.
►When measuring the spinach, really pack it down to maximize the amount. Add into blender and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Green Super Smoothie

Resources:

Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age, http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/

What are the health benefits of spinach?, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php