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Why a “Well Balanced Meal?”

Brittney Offenburg, BS Nutrition & Dietetics student

We often hear the term “well balanced meal,” but what exactly does this entail? Well balanced meals contain a variety of foods that provide us with adequate vitamins, minerals and our more well known macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each nutrient offers a wide range of benefits alone, but together their actions are quite impressive. When we analyze how carbohydrates, protein and fat work together we are able to see a glimpse of the synergy that happens within the human body. 

Sustainable Energy 

Eating well balanced meals supports sustainable energy. When carbohydrates are consumed alongside protein, healthy fats and fiber, the release of glucose (the building blocks of carbs) into the body is slower. This may lead to a more steady, gradual release of glucose overtime which we utilize for energy. This also supports healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. Carbohydrates do provide us with quick energy, but paired with our other macronutrients may sustain us over longer periods of time. 

Promotes Satiety 

Making well balanced choices may also reduce hunger between meals. Protein tends to promote feelings of satiety, or fullness, as well as fiber. Pairing a protein with a fibrous food such as beets, carrots or artichokes may help you feel fuller for longer and avoid overeating. Not only does fiber support satiety, it may support healthy cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and support your gut microbiome. Reach for pears, apples, berries or popcorn to add a little extra fiber to your diet. 

Nutrient Absorption 

Are you supplementing with Vitamin D during those winter months? Vitamins are separated into two categories, fat soluble and water soluble. That means it’s helpful to consume fat soluble vitamins alongside a healthy fat source for enhanced nutrient absorption. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and ideally should be taken with food. This is a great example of how vitamins and macronutrients work together. A little yogurt, almond butter or cooking with olive oil is a wonderful way to enhance the bioavailability of our helpful vitamins. 

Recovery Support

For many of you here at the gym, working out is very important. There are things we can do before and after our workout to support recovery and muscle function. Another great example of how our macros work together is consuming protein and carbohydrates after your workout. Protein will help support your muscles in recovery and carbohydrate intake will help restore the glycogen that was used during the workout. Adequate nutrition is very important to support our bodies during our physical journey. 

Eating well balanced meals containing carbohydrates, fat and protein together can offer several benefits. Focusing on balance within your food contributes to overall health and well-being. We tend to seek balance in other areas of our lives; work-life balance for example. I like to view our plate as another place to find and practice balance, in hopes it improves other areas of our lives.

Brittney Offenburg believes in empowerment through education. She attended the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism where she studied western herbalism and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Metropolitan State University of Denver.


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