How To Create Healthy Meals with a VPFC Format

Do you ever eat a meal or a snack, and feel utterly unsatisfied? You struggle to create healthy meals that help to satisfy and nourish you, so find yourself reaching for chips, candy, or some other lonely-carb to fill the void. And then the shame spiral starts…I shouldn’t have eaten that. Now my stomach hurts. I feel guilty.

We have all been there. 

And do you know why you can’t help but reach for those things when you’ve had only a small salad and your pre-packaged protein shake? Why you feel hungry less than 2 hours after eating a meal, even though you think ‘there’s no way I’m actually hungry – I JUST ate!’?

 It’s because you haven’t met all of your nutritional needs. 

You have these strong cravings because your body is saying, I need something more.

Does any of what I’ve said so far resonate with you?

You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, Whit – this is SO me! How do I satisfy my body so I’m not having to fight the cravings for dessert after every single single meal?! Help!”

First, let’s talk hunger versus cravings. 

How To Create Healthy Meals with a VPFC Format

The Difference Between Hunger and Cravings

Our body is a powerful system that sends us signals all day long and it can be hard to really know what our mind wants, versus what our body needs. When it comes to eating, especially if you struggle with your relationship with food, your body’s signals can be hard to interpret in the beginning. It’s important to first, learn to differentiate between hunger and cravings.

Cravings come on fast and furious, and make you feel like you need that donut, like, right now. They’re what make you speed to Dunkin and pull a few illegal U-Turns for a Starbucks caramel Frappucino. Further, cravings also subside with time and come from your brain, not your stomach.

Hunger, alternatively, is a slower burn. The feeling of hunger comes on over time, and can include stomach growls, low energy, an increased lack of concentration and doesn’t dissipate until you nourish your body. While cravings can go away without fulfilling them.

Now, I have the perfect hack for satisfying your hunger, reducing your cravings and helping to eliminate those sugar urges; VPFC meals!

Now Whit, what does VPFC stand for?

Healthy Meals with a VPFC Format

This is the formula I use to help myself and my patients build meals that nourish and satisfy. Using this acronym makes it so much easier and takes out all of the guesswork out of “What should I make for my breakfast, lunch or dinner?” and “What does a healthy meal look like?” Good, balanced meals keep you fueled and energized for at least 4 hours. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, 13-ingredient, 2 hour hands-on prep time, recipe to be healthy – keep it simple! Pick one food from each category and viola! A satisfying (and nourishing) meal is born! 


Each element of VPFC provides our body with the essential elements that it needs, which is the key to creating healthy meals.

healthy meals


Non-Starchy Veggies: Vegetables are the unsung heroes of our plates. They provide fiber, vitamins and micronutrients that keep you healthy and are the essential component in the VPFC formula for blood sugar balance.

Protein: Good, quality protein gives you amino acids, the feeling of fullness, and energy. It also helps with muscle building and prevents cravings! Focus on at least 20 grams of protein at each meal!

Fat: Good fat is not the enemy! It helps with satiety, taking the longest to digest of all macronutrients, and keeps you full until your next meal.

Carbs: Despite what diet culture wants us to believe, our bodies need carbs! Complex carbohydrates contain the essential things that our brain uses for energy and are a good source of fiber in your diet. 


Another added perk of the VPFC meal focus? Eating in the order of the acronym give you some added #bloodsugarbliss!

Let’s see what the research says about VPFC meals…

Studies show that eating your veggies first, before any other part of your meal, helps to prevent a major blood sugar spike and provides glycemic control. Limiting or minimizing that spike not only prevents the inevitable 3PM crash, but it leads to enhanced productivity and energy throughout the day. End of year bonus, anyone? Blood sugar crashes can leave you lethargic and reaching for a quick energy source – cue the lonely carb cravings! Preventing a major blood sugar dip curbs those post-lunch yawns and multiple trips to the snack pantry.

Creating healthy meals is all about balance!

Now, this is not to say there isn’t room in a healthy and balanced diet for dessert, treats or your favorite snack. As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I help my patients meet their health and weight loss goals without restriction or calorie counting. And, patients still enjoy all their favorite foods! How? Eating these sweet treats after your VPFC meal helps to keep your blood sugar balanced, and gives you more control in deciding if you actually want that treat, versus reaching for it during a time of what feels like desperation for energy. Anyone else fallen for the 3PM cookie and coffee snack that led straight to a 5PM nap?

You can eat foods you love and still meet your health goals!

Not sure how? Work with me to create a plan that is specific to you. 

Focusing on the VPFC format eases the burden of trying to guess what a healthy meal looks like, leaving the mental energy you’d spend on that for other things in your life. I want to make building nourishing, satisfying meals EASY for you. Food is fuel –  it’s not meant to be something that takes up so much mental space. It’s what gives us energy and strength to meet our goals, care for our families, and move for joy!

Key take-aways:

  1. Complete meals leave you satisfied and energized for at least 4 hours
  2. Eat your meals in the order of the acronym – VPFC – for blood sugar balance
  3. Ensuring your meal is balanced and includes veggies, protein, fat and carbs will help send satiety signals to your brain and help keep your blood sugar balanced
  4. Balanced and healthy meals help curb cravings and prevent mindless snacking of excess unnecessary calories
  5. You don’t have to be the expert! Schedule a call with me to discuss your health goals and get a tailored meal guide to fit your needs

Ready to get started on your blood sugar bliss? Book a discovery call!

And check out my blog for some VPFC meal recommendations you can use for next week’s meal prep!

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