A lot of us may think we eat pretty “healthy”, but there could actually be a few obvious signs your body is telling you that your meals are not nutritionally balanced. If you experience any of these signs, it may be because your meals are not as healthy as you think:
1. You’re feeling tired right after eating a meal.
Your food should be energizing you, not making you feel more tired. Of course there are multiple factors in life that can affect your energy levels (sleep, stress etc.) but if your nutrition is not solid then it could be contributing to you feeling more tired.
2. You frequently experience digestive issues.
If you regularly feel bloating, constipation, diarrhea or other digestive issues after your meals, this could mean you need to remove or add certain foods to your diet, and go through a process to figure out what works best for you. Just know that it isn’t normal to be living with digestive issues.
3. You feel very full after eating.
If you feel super full not too long after eating (to the point where you can’t even move!) this could be related to how quickly and how mindfully you’re eating. When you eat, it actually takes your brain 15-20min to get the signal from your stomach that you’ve had a meal, so if you eat your meals too fast, it will kick in a little later and you can easily overeat in that time period and feel extremely full shortly after (i.e. food coma).
4. You feel very hungry shortly after eating.
Being hungry not too long after you’ve had a meal could mean the types of foods you’re eating are not satiating and satisfying enough, and that you need to make some dietary changes. For example, if you are eating a lot of simple carbohydrates with not enough protein or fibre, your meals will be digested more quickly in the body leaving you very hungry shortly after.
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3 Practical Tips to Start Addressing how your feeling
If you experience any of these signs, there are 3 main dietary changes you can start doing right now that will help you make your meals more nutritionally balanced and healthy:
1. Consistently increase your vegetables intake
For at least 2 meals in your day (for example lunch and dinner), try to have some sort of veggies (they can be cooked or raw i.e. a salad). Vegetables contain lots of fibre that will be absorbed more slowly in the body and will help with feeling satiated and energized after a meal. Depending on the type of digestive issues you experience, increasing your fibre may also help relieve some of these issues.
2. Increase your protein
Increasing your protein intake will also help with feeling more energized and satisfied throughout the day, and is the biggest missing piece if you find yourself feeling hungry not too long after meals. Adding a good source of protein to your meals (i.e. greek yogurt, fish, nuts, beans, chicken, eggs etc.) will aid in ensuring your meals are nutritionally balanced.
3. Be mindful of quality and quantity of carbohydrates
Complex and whole grain carbohydrates (i.e. whole grain breads, oats, brown rice, whole grain pasta etc.) are the best choice as they will be digested slower in the body, and also contain fibre which will help you feel energized and satisfied after meals. Also, rather than having your whole plate be filled with carbohydrates, try to have a quarter of your plate (i.e. one cup of cooked rice) be the portion of carbohydrates for your meal.
All of these signs of nutritionally imbalanced meals are short-term issues that can easily be resolved before they develop into long-term problems (chronic disease, irregular blood work and more). It is important to listen to your body if you are experiencing any of these signs, and don’t settle for feeling unwell when you can easily take action to improve your health and well being!
These are general healthy eating guidelines, and it’s important to remember at the end of the day nutrition is personalized and you need to try out what works for you.
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