Functional Nutrition 101: How to Eat Balanced Meals.
Functional nutrition is a term that has been gaining popularity in the health and wellness world lately. Functional nutrition is all about eating balanced, nutritious meals that support optimal function of the body. In this blog post, we will discuss what functional nutrition is, and provide some tips for how to eat balanced meals that are perfect for your unique body!
One of the main goals of functional nutrition is to help you find the right balance for your body. This means that each person’s ideal diet will be different, depending on their unique needs and health goals. There is no “one size fits all” approach to functional nutrition – it is all about finding what works best for you.
That being said, there are a few general tips that can help you create balanced meals that support your health goals.
First, make sure to include plenty of healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet. These nutrients are essential for optimal function of the body, and they also provide energy and satiety.
Each meal should contain:
Veggies, herbs, and spices
All leafy greens, root veggies, cruciferous veggies, starchy veggies, etc.
All herbs and spices.
Plant-based: nuts, seeds, whole grains, quinoa, beans, lentils, peas, tempeh, tofu
Animal-based: fish, seafood, eggs, kefir, yogurt, cheese, poultry, red meat
Olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocado, avocado oil, fat from fish and quality meat, quality dairy
Whole Food Carbohydrates:
Whole grains (amaranth, buckwheat, rice, teff, corn, millet, quinoa, sorghum, oats, rye, barley, sprouted wheat
Second, focus on eating whole, minimally processed, foods whenever possible. This means, choosing a variety of foods that are as close to how they are found in nature as possible! Having fruits and veggies on hand for a quick snack, adding spinach to a pasta dish, or prepping a variety of whole grains like, rice, quinoa, or oats to have throughout the week are great ways to get in more whole foods!
Third, functional nutrition is all about listening to your body’s needs and cravings. This means that if you want to eat a certain food, then go ahead! But it also means understanding when your body may need something different. For example, if your energy levels are low and you crave sweets, you may also need extra protein, carbohydrates, or even just sleep! Taking an intuitive eating approach is important for everyone to make sure that we stay connected and in tune with our body and health.
Following recipes is an excellent method to learn how to plan meals while also getting fresh ideas for your favorite tastes. Check out one of my favorite functional nutrition dishes below to get started! Here's a mediterranean bowl recipe that's perfect for lunches or weeknight dinners!
Mediterranean Bowl Recipe:
- Quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
- Roasted red peppers, diced
- Cucumbers, diced
- Banana peppers, diced
- Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- Fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Fresh romaine lettuce
- Chicken, tofu, feta cheese, or any additional protein/fat source
For the dressing:
- Extra virgin olive (1 part)
- Apple cider vinegar (1 part)
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Oregano, salt and pepper
Directions: Layer the quinoa or brown rice, fresh veggies, meat/protein of choice in a bowl. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and drizzle over the top!
There are many great resources out there to help you learn functional nutrition and start eating balanced meals. My functional nutrition coaching program is a great place to start if you are interested in functional nutrition! You can schedule a free consultation call HERE to determine if I am a good fit to help you reach your goals!
Happy healthy living!!
Kelli Foerster, MS, CPT
Nutritionist, Personal Trainer
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