Natural Meal Plans – Forget low carb, crash diets and starvation diets – our body needs the energy and nutrients from our healthy and natural foods. Here you can find out which are particularly beneficial and nutritious and how you can put together your menu as Natural Meal Plans.
Also Read: All to Know About Plant-Based Diet
Table of Contents
Eating healthy and natural – it’s really easy:
1. Fresh fruit and vegetables – regional and seasonal
Fresh fruit and vegetables form the basis of a healthy diet. Whether raw, boiled or steamed: In the vegetable department, you can access everything that the season has to offer – of course, adapted to your tolerance. Leave out what is not good for you. Seasonal fruit and vegetables have significantly more vitamins and trace elements than artificially grown, unripe harvested and long-haul food.
To get a feeling for seasonal food, it is worth visiting a farm shop or weekly market regularly. Here you can get regional and mostly seasonal fruit and vegetables, some of them organic. In this way, you frequently come across unknown or hitherto less noticed varieties such as black salsify, parsnips or gooseberries and can expand your diet with new, healthy products. And instead of unusual superfoods like goji berries or chia seeds, there are local rosehips, blueberries or flaxseeds. Seasonal calendars for fruit, vegetables and salad also offer quick orientation.
2. The more natural, the better – little packaging, hardly any plastic
If possible, use natural foods: the less processed, the better and the healthier. Products without packaging and plastic – like fresh vegetables and fruit – are of course at the top of the list. For packaged foods, the length of the ingredient list provides a significant indication of the degree of processing. Even with matching products, there are big differences: while 1 oat milk consists of only 3 ingredients, another has more than ten. Even cheese, bread, and salt can contain many pointless additives.
3. No artificial additives, colours and flavours
In a healthy diet, it is also important to avoid products that contain colourings, preservatives and flavourings. Whether spreads, margarine or bread: A look at the ingredients reveals how many additives stabilize, preserve or colour the food. Flavour enhancers such as glutamate also distort the perception of satiety and taste.
4. Regular meals
Many of us have missed our natural sense of satiety. In order to bring hunger and filling back into balance, regular meals are of great importance. If possible, we should eat at recurring times every day. Because our body – and even our digestion – adjust to these times. Hunger and satiety work healthier and cravings don’t even appear in the first place.
Decide whether you can do best with three meals a day in a classic way, or eat within a certain time window like with intermittent fasting – regularity is important. Even if we know today that also many snacks a day are disapproving for our metabolism: there is no rigid rule as to how many meals a day are individually good for us. And you should also listen to your body at breakfast: If you are hungry in the morning, you should eat breakfast. If, on the other hand, you have a little appetite after getting up, you should not force yourself to eat.
5. Combine complex carbohydrates with protein
More variety on the plate instead of a one-sided diet: protein sources such as milk, soy products, fish, lean meat or legumes should be combined with complex carbohydrates from potatoes or whole grain products such as whole grain bread or pasta. They not only control the metabolism, the mix also ensures a well-rounded taste experience.
6. Eat healthy fats, no trans fats
A healthy diet also depends on the choice of fats. Above all, so-called “good” fats, which have an anti-inflammatory effect and are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, are considered healthy. They provide the body with components that it cannot produce itself, which is why they are also referred to as essential, i.e. vital fatty acids. There are many unsaturated fatty acids in fish such as salmon or sardines, for example. Cold-pressed linseed or olive oil are also very decent sources.
In any case, you should avoid heavily processed hydrogenated fats, the so-called trans fats. They are often found in croissants, margarine, crisps and the like. You can find information on this on the list of ingredients for the corresponding products.
7. Less table salt, more herbs
Sodium chloride, healthier known as table salt, is a significant mineral for our body: it regulates the water balance, and tissue tension and is the basis for the excitability of nerves and muscles. As a mineral, salt also plays an important role in bone structure and digestion.
However, many people eat far more salt than necessary. Too much salt can have adverse effects on the kidneys and heart. If we ingest too much salt, this is mainly excreted through the kidneys, which is accompanied by a not insignificant loss of water. This is why excessive salt consumption over a long period of time can put a strain on the kidneys.
You should therefore use salt, especially chemically refined salts, as sparingly as possible. Refined salts often contain “caking aids” as additives. Natural crystals or sea salt can do without them.
Large amounts of salt are also hidden in snacks and, above all, packaged goods such as sausage or cheese. We, therefore, recommend fresh herbs of all kinds for the necessary seasoning. We have compiled healthy alternatives to salt for you here.
8. Avoid empty calories – cut out sugar
Industrial, refined sugar is found in almost every industrially processed food and is therefore consumed in far too high amounts. Sugar provides a lot of calories, but no real nutritional value. Its simple carbohydrates are also hidden behind aliases such as maltodextrin or dextrose. In addition to over products, by the way, also where they are not expected, such as in sausages.
If you still want it to be sweetened, you can use sugar alternatives: ripe bananas, date sugar, apple pulp, honey, and coconut blossom sugar.
Just replace the sugar with sweetener? No calories, no blood sugar effect – that sounds good at first. And the sturdier the desire for less sugar, the better the call for alternatives. But sweeteners are not a healthy substitute for sugar. They are an all-around artificial product that is best avoided entirely. Sweeteners such as aspartame are not only suspected of triggering cravings. harmful health effects appear again and again. And: Sweeteners also change our perception of sweetness. The extreme artificial sweetness can trigger an ever-increasing craving for sweet foods while we no longer perceive the natural sweetness of the fruit.
9. Drink enough water every day
Water is an essential element of our diet. With plenty of water a day, you deliver your body with sufficient liquid, which it can optimally use to metabolize nutrients.
However, how much water each of us should drink is individual. Here is a simple rule of thumb that tells each of us how much water we need: 2 litres of water a day.
Alcohol, on the hand, should be avoided and only consumed in small amounts.
10. Eat mindfully
Many of us have forgotten how to listen to our guts. We often eat far too fast and hardly take the time to eat. When the feeling of repletion sets in, we have often already eaten far more than necessary.
Eating slowly not only increases enjoyment and attention to the food being prepared, it also gives the body the opportunity to signal in good time: “I’m full”.
It is better to prepare minor portions that you eat up completely than a large plate that you always eat empty out of habit. And listen to by hand: Am I really still hungry or am I already full?
Conscious eating also means listening to what is good for you and what is not. Not every food that is healthy in itself is equally digestible for everyone. If you get stomach problems from whole grain wheat or red cabbage, you are not doing yourself any good. A healthy diet or Natural Meal plan must continuously be well tolerated – and of course, above all, taste good!