No Shake Day is complete without a healthful and satisfying third meal. On Shake Days, you replace two meals with an IsaLean® Shake and enjoy a nutritionally balanced third meal to help you reach your wellbeing goals.
Whether you are focused on a fully plant-based lifestyle or just like to enjoy greater variety, plant-based meal planning is a perfect fit for any Isagenix system.
Simple Steps to Building a Beautifully Balanced Plant-Based Meal
Choosing foods you enjoy is important when deciding what to eat for your third meal. By planning portion sizes that provide the right amount of calories for you and including a variety of foods that provide your body with essential nutrients in the right proportions, you can savor every bite without missing your favorite foods.
For most people with a weight loss or weight maintenance goal, 400-600 calories are right on target. Some people may need more calories, depending on personal factors, like how active they are, or their individual wellbeing goals.
Fill your plate with these easy steps to building a balanced, plant-based third meal.
Pick a Plant-Based Protein
The first step when building a balanced meal is selecting the base of your meal – a lean protein. Providing your body with a quality source of protein at each meal will help you feel satisfied longer while supporting muscle maintenance and metabolism (1,2). Plant-based proteins are naturally lean, making this one of the simplest steps.
Plant protein foods are typically short in some of the essential amino acids that are needed for a nutritionally complete protein, but the amino acids that are limited in one food are often abundant in another food. By choosing a variety of plant foods for your third meal, like nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, you’ll easily cover all the essential amino acids your body needs.
Pick 4-6 ounces of your preferred protein like beans, tofu, or lentils. This should fill about a quarter of your plate.
Add Complex Carbs
Next, your body needs complex carbohydrates to provide a steady source of energy. The best options are also high in dietary fiber to help you feel full.
Aim for a ½ cup portion or about a quarter of your plate. Whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes are great options.
Add More Veggies and Fruit
Including a large portion and a variety of fruits and vegetables to your meal provides many essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber our bodies need. Extensive research also shows that people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer and healthier lives (3). Filling your plate with vegetables not only has impressive nutritional benefits but also helps to make a meal more satisfying.
Add about 2 cups of vegetables – roasted, steamed, salad, or soup – the options are endless and should fill nearly half your plate.
Include a Good Fat
Finally, good fats are an important part of any meal. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are the good fats found in plant-based foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado. They contribute to overall health and wellbeing and are a source of essential fatty acids. Adding a little fat to your meal can keep you feeling satisfied and can aid in the absorption of certain vitamins, including A, D, E, and K.
Top your meal off with a little good fat such as ¼ avocado or a dressing made with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled on your veggies. A tablespoon of chopped nuts or seeds adds a delicious crunch to salads as well.
Reimagine Your Favorite Meals
Creating a balanced third meal doesn’t mean you need to do without your favorite foods. By following the four steps to a balanced meal, it’s simple to reimagine your favorite meals with a more nourishing twist. You can explore even more delicious 400-600 calorie plant-based recipe ideas here.
Veggie Burger Bowl
Skip the typical veggie burger in a bun and build a more balanced burger bowl:
Lean Protein: ½ cup of black beans
Complex Carbs: ½ cup of brown rice and rolled oats, combined
Veggies: 2 cups of leafy greens, plus extras like beets, tomatoes, and carrots
Add your favorite burger toppings: pickles, onions, or avocado, and a drizzle of your favorite sauce
Nutrition Profile: About 406 calories, about 16 grams of protein, and 68 grams of carbohydrates.
Tasty Tofu Tacos
If your Shake Day falls on Taco Tuesday, then these tasty tacos are the perfect solution.
Lean Protein: 6 ounces of extra-firm tofu, drained, crumbled, and browned in spices
Complex Carbs: 3 small corn tortillas
Veggies: Shredded lettuce, diced avocado, and tomatoes
Drizzle with your favorite salsa or crema
Nutrition Profile: Around 525 calories with 25 grams of protein and 49 grams of carbohydrates.
What makes a meal complete is quality proteins, good fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. For most people, building a meal with 4-6 ounces of protein, ½ cup of complex carbohydrates, and about 2 cups of vegetables, is right on target for creating a beautifully balanced third meal.
- Lynch H, Johnston C, Wharton C. Plant-Based Diets: Considerations for Environmental Impact, Protein Quality, and Exercise Performance. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 1;10(12):1841.
- Najjar RS, Feresin RG. Plant-Based Diets in the Reduction of Body Fat: Physiological Effects and Biochemical Insights. Nutrients. 2019 Nov 8;11(11):2712.
- Wallace TC, Bailey RL, Blumberg JB, et al. Fruits, vegetables, and health: A comprehensive narrative, umbrella review of the science and recommendations for enhanced public policy to improve intake. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(13):2174-2211.