Make Balanced Meals, Not Perfect Meals

You don’t need Pinterest-worthy meals!

This a conversation that I have with many of my clients: the goal is for balanced meals not perfect meals. People often feel pressure to be an amazing chef, cooking everything from scratch, and even present it in a style worthy of Pinterest or Instagram when working on their nutrition goals. But if your goal is better health or healthier eating, then balance is the only thing you need to be worried about.

A balanced meal…

  • keeps you full and satisfied
  • allows you to have a more appropriate portion at your meals
  • helps to maintain your energy and blood sugar levels
  • contains essential nutrients your body requires for optimal health


A balanced meal consists of:

  • ½ vegetables (1 ½ – 2 fists)
  • ¼ protein (1 palm)
  • ¼ starch ( ½ – 1 fist)
  • A little bit of fat (tip of your thumb)

Use your plate or hands as a guide!


The plate is designed this way so that you fill up on the fibre of the vegetables and you are then satisfied with an appropriate amount of protein, starch and fat. When the vegetables are missing we often over eat the starch and protein feeling tired, groggy and bloated after your meal. When we skip the starch or protein we are rarely satisfied after and we often have cravings for higher calorie foods in the afternoon and/or evening.


Some examples/strategies:

  • For a quick pick – up dinner: grab a rotisserie chicken from your local deli or grocery store (remove the skin), pair with a simple salad with dressing on the side and a whole wheat bun.
  • Nachos: fill a pan ½ with corn tortillas, and ½ with sliced cauliflower, cover with shredded cheese, peppers, onion, and black beans and bake. Use salsa, plain Greek yogurt (adds extra protein), and guacamole (a healthy fat for a dip.)
  • Breakfast for dinner: Make a vegetable, cheese and egg scramble and have with whole wheat toast with a pat of butter
  • Vegetarian salad: add your favorite canned beans to a salad. Beans count as both a starch and protein making this a quick meal, or an easy one to grab. You can also have a marinated bean salad on top of mixed greens.
  • Going out for a quick lunch: Understand that most meals will skimp on the vegetables. Try packing a baggie of mixed vegetables (mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, etc.) that way you can create a balanced meal as it is easy to find starch and protein.


By Kelsey Hagen – Registered Dietitian

Revive Wellness is a team of skilled and passionate Registered Nutritionists specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.

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