Well Balanced Diet

Whether you are vegan, vegeterian or omnivorous, how do you ensure you are eating a "balanced" meal?

In my quest to become "more vegan," I've discovered that my problem is that I'll eat a lot of one thing, e.g., I will happily eat raw kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week. It might be healthy, but it's hardly a balanced meal. I admit that this is related to subpar grocery shopping habits--I ALWAYS buy the same one or two things.

Nutrition/fitness websites that I've surveyed are too general. You need more "calcium, iron, protein", etc, but surely that hardly covers the milligrams of other nutrients that are important to a body?

What rules do you go by when you are planning your next meal? Do you eat 5 colors a day? Is there a (vegan/vegetarian-oriented) nutrition book that you recommend? (I would really like a book that confirms I'm not damaging my health by seasonal consumption of certain nutrients, i.e., I am wild about grapefruit in the winter, and so my absorption of Vit C drops precipitously as soon as grapefruit is out of season and I move on to other things).

P.S. I'd like to avoid multi-vitamins.



SKK March 27, 2012
A lot of colors of vegetables and fruits. Good fats from hemp seeds, flax seeds, nuts, avocado, coconut butter. A great raw food book (which is of course vegan) is Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy.

If you are eating a lot of kale, the wonder food, you are also getting a lot of vitamin c. And red bell peppers have a lot of vitamin c. As does broccoli and spinach.

The point is if you are eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, and good fats you are getting all your
nutrients. And it is important to know where your food comes from and how it is grown. And if nuts, how they are treated.
SKK March 27, 2012
Miranda is right - I forgot the grains.
Miranda R. March 27, 2012
There have been quite a few conversations on Hotline about vegan diets, and here's a good one with LOTS of strong answers : http://www.food52.com/hotline/11981-does-anyone-know-of-a-good-vegan-cookbook

I think balance comes with variety, as you're alluding to. I would focus on composing meals of a variety of grains, vegetables and beans - hit those bulk bins hard! Beans and rice, quinoa, lentils, nuts, fruits, avocados, oils of all kinds, lettuces, tofu if you like it - keep a well stocked kitchen and get a few great vegan cookbooks and have at it!
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