Balance Well Challenge Support

During the Challenge you will access resources from the employee well-being portal in the Wellness Initiatives 

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Click here to access and print the 4-week Balance Well Challenge

Whole food is the foundation of a healthy eating pattern and the backbone of good health. When you outsource your food choices to packaged food companies you end up with an eating pattern made-up of processed foods that are loaded with unhealthy ingredients.

 

Processed foods have been engineered with sugar, salt, and fat to be incredibly “rewarding” to the brain making you come back for more. 

  • White breads, buns, rice, pasta

  • Crackers, chips, pretzels

  • Packaged breakfast cereal

  • Condiments, salad dressing, sauces are loaded with added sugar

  • Flavored yogurts and milks are loaded with added sugar

 

When you build your meals and snacks from whole foods with the plate model, you consume whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables throughout the day to meet your nutrition requirements.

 

Design your plate to include:

  • ¼ whole grains

  • ¼ protein

  • ¼ vegetables

  • ¼ fruit 

Free yourself from processed food and begin to enjoy the flavors and nutritional properties of whole food.

Week 1: Let's Start with Breakfast

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"You can't expert to fee like a million bucks if you eat from the dollar menu." Anonymous

The Breakfast Trio combines protein, whole grains, and a fruit or vegetable.

 

It’s not as hard as you might think to eat Real Food for breakfast.

 

  • Cook extra grains for dinner and reheat for breakfast – brown rice, couscous, grits.

  • Grill extra vegetables for dinner and use in your scrambled eggs or put in a whole grain tortilla.

  • Enjoy unsweetened Greek yogurt with nuts, seeds, and fruit.

  • Enjoy unsweetened tea or coffee and a glass of water to get you hydrated in the morning.          

Let’s focus on breakfast this week. Use your Challenge Sheet to record the days that you ate a balanced breakfast based on the Breakfast Trio.

Bonus Activity: Use the Meal Planning Template to plan the week’s meals including protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

“Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.” Jamie Oliver

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Week 2: A Balanced Lunch

"Eat to fuel your body, not to feed your emotions.” Anonymous

Use the 4 Quadrant Healthy Plate Model to build a plate or bowl to create a real from real food:

  • ¼ protein, ¼ grains, ½ vegetables and fruits

  • Add a healthy fat and beverage

 

It’s not as hard as you might think to eat Real Food for lunch.

 

  • Make a big pot of soup on the weekend and grill extra vegetables and meat for use during the week.

  • Get creative with sandwiches by selecting whole grain bread, adding roasted meats and vegetables, and basil leaves.

  • For salads, start with healthy grains. Add greens, vegetables, protein, and fruit or nuts and seeds.

  • Enjoy dinner leftovers for lunch and bring to work in reusable containers.

  • Enjoy a healthy beverage to stay well hydrated such as regular or sparking water, unflavored soy or milk, unsweetened tea.

 

Use your Challenge Sheet to record the days that you ate a balanced breakfast based on the Breakfast Trio AND a balanced lunch from the 4 Quadrant Healthy Plate Model. Use the Meal Planning Template to plan the week’s meals including protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

 

Just for fun: For dessert, enjoy seasonal fresh fruit

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“I can’t control everything in my life, but I can control what I put in my body.” Anonymous

Week 3: A Healthy Dinner

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“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated recipes, just good food from fresh ingredients." Julia Child

Use the 4 Quadrant Healthy Plate Model to build a plate or bowl to create a real from real food:

  • ¼ protein, ¼ grains, ½ vegetables and fruits

  •  Add a healthy fat and beverage

 

It’s not as hard as you might think to eat Real Food for dinner.

  • Choose lean meat and prepare it using herbs and spices.

  • Make extra roasted vegetables to add your dinner salad or lunches later in the week.

  • Cook extra grains, protein, and vegetables to use as a second meal or for lunch.

  • Use beans, tofu, dairy, and whole grains for protein.

  • Make a homemade salad dressing and add nuts, seeds, and avocado to your salad.

  • Enjoy a healthy beverage to stay well hydrated such as regular or sparking water, unflavored soy or milk, unsweetened herbal tea.

 

Use your Challenge Sheet to record the days that you ate a balanced breakfast based on the Breakfast Trio AND a balanced lunch AND dinner from the 4 Quadrant Healthy Plate Model. Use the Meal Planning Template to plan the week’s meals including protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

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“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than we are.” Adele Davis

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Week 4: Snacks without Wrappers

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf

The Snack Duo pairs a protein with a whole grain, fruit, or vegetable.

 

Ideas for snacks without wrappers:

           

Vegetable or Fruit                 Protein

Seasonal fruit                             Nuts and seeds

Vegetables                                 Glass of unflavored milk or say

Dried fruit                                   Air-popped popcorn

Hummus                                    Nut butters

Salsa                                          Hard-boiled eggs

Roasted vegetables                   Yogurt, cheese, tofu

Salad greens                              Whole gram crackers or pita

It is important that you eat your calories rather than snack on liquid calories that don’t do anything for your hunger and can result in hundreds of calories and unhealthy amounts of sugar.

 

Use your Challenge Sheet to record the days that you ate a balanced breakfast based on the Breakfast Trio, a balanced lunch AND dinner from the 4 Quadrant Healthy Plate Model, AND snacks without wrappers. Use the Meal Planning Template to plan the week’s meals and snacks including protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

Congratulations!

 

You have discovered new ways to Balance Well by planning, shopping, and preparing real food. You are putting into practice new approaches to Balance Well. We hope that you have learned from the Virtual Exhibit, examined your habits, read the articles and watched videos from the employee well-being portal, and found ways to improve your eating patterns moving forward. After 4 weeks, you have been challenged to eat Real Foods for meals and snacks. Keep up the momentum by continuing to use the Challenge Sheet to make your new habits part of everyday living.

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“Eat real food. Feel real good.” Anonymous

Click here to access and print the 4-week Balance Well Challenge.

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