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The best way to set yourself up for success is to eat healthy. After all, your body needs to be fed properly for it to function well, physically and mentally. Be it a grueling day at work or a tough workout, nothing gears you up more than a nutritious meal before you get down to business.
Additionally, a habit of eating healthy will also defend you against a basket of chronic illnesses in the future. Bad diets have been linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other diseases that can permanently cripple your body. How you treat your body in your 20s will determine how you’ll spend your 40s and beyond.
By now, you should be convinced that planning a healthy meal should be in your arsenal of life skills. We here at the LocknLock team want to start you off on your journey to a healthier and better you.
There are many diets you can follow online, from Paleo to Keto, but if you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick to the tried-and-true basics: the plate method. The plate method divvies up the space on your plate to different food groups. Unlike the more complicated methods that require you to get a kitchen scale and a calculator, the plate method only needs a regular plate and good pair of eyes.
Each country has their version, but ours is called the Pinggang Pinoy. Made by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), it divides your plate into four portions: Grains (Go), Protein (Grow), Fruits and Vegetables (Glow).
Loading up your plate the Pinggang Pinoy way makes sure that you get the right amount of the right kind of nutrients in your body. Let’s break down how each category fulfills your nutritional needs.
This group provides the bulk of our carbohydrates, our body’s primary source of energy. Food that fall under this category would include rice, bread, and pasta. While carbohydrates are essential, you should be careful not to overindulge in grains. Too much in your system can lead to unwanted weight gain and elevated blood sugar.
While it could also provide energy, protein’s main purpose in our body is to be the building blocks of our muscles, skin, and bones. If you’re planning to develop your muscles, do not skimp on this group. Eggs, meat, fish, and legumes are some examples of food that are rich in protein.
Fruits and Vegetables (Go)
A diverse portfolio of fruits and veggies will give you all the vitamins and minerals you need. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, meaning that you only need them in small doses compared to macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates; however, micronutrient deficiency is no small matter. In children, it can stunt their growth and cause developmental problems. In adults, it could sabotage the inner-workings of their body.
A essential macronutrient that our plate method has but does not explicitly cover is fats. Contrary to popular belief, fats, at the right dose, are needed in our diets. Not only are they a great backup source of energy for our bodies, they are also building blocks for important substances, like hormones and our very cells. Eggs, meat, fish, and certain types of plants (all present in the Pinggang Pinoy) are good sources of healthy fats.
Last week, we talked about the benefits of meal planning and one of its major advantages is that it forces you to think about what you’re going to eat in the future. No more last-second orders in Food Panda for you!
Using what we discussed today, I challenge you to start flexing your meal planning muscles and make a healthy baon for yourself tomorrow, with the right amount of grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Trust me, your future self will thank you during lunchtime for the love you are investing in your health.