I hope I inspired you last week to start thinking about your plate and how to get it in shape this month and for life.
If you haven’t heard yet, the theme this year for National Nutrition Month is “Get Your Plate in Shape” and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been working to promote a healthy balance of all the different food groups while not over-doing it in calories. The plate looks like this…
On one half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables) and the other half grains and meat (equally divided).
This sounds simple enough right? Well, for those of you have been trying to follow this tip, and are as detail oriented as myself, you may have come across some questions or confusion when trying to fit every meal using the pattern. I am going to try to answer as best as possible some of the issues that have or may come up when trying to follow this plate division method.
Your meal is mixed all together? Stir fries, tacos, turkey burgers, or spaghetti with meat sauce can all be healthy choices but the proportion of vegetables, meat, and starch are combined making it difficult to show the plate divisions. The best way to stay within the plate method guidelines is to know how much of each of the food groups you should have and then you can mix it however you like.
- Meat: The meat portion should be 3-4 ounces. This is equal to about a quarter pound of meat and looks like a deck of playing cards.
- Starch: Keep the starch portion to 1 cup cooked starch (potatoes, beans, corn, rice, pasta), 2 slices of bread, 2 corn tortillas, or one small hamburger bun.
- Vegetable: Aim for at least 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw vegetables.
- Fruit: Fruits such as apple, peach, pear, and oranges should be the sizes of a tennis ball. Mixed chop fruits should be about 3/4 cup. Some people may choose to have this as a dessert or a snack.
You don’t consume meat at every meal or at all? You don’t have to consume animal products to get all your protein. The recommendations are actually to vary up your protein choices. You can choose to fill the protein section with meat alternatives such as soy tofu, beans/legumes, nuts, eggs, and fish (for those who are not completely vegetarian.)
You don’t typically have your salad on your main plate? You may choose to have your salad on a small plate or bowl and include some fresh sliced strawberries in your salad. Then, make sure to use an 8 inch plate to place your starch on one half and then your meat on the other half (using the same portion listed above.)
Click Here for more details on the “Get Your Plate in Shape” challenge and start using this tool today! Fee free to share any ideas or experiences you have had using this!
Recipe of the week:
Enchilada Casserole – This dish is a cinch to make and it is the perfect size for 4 persons. Pair it with a side salad and 1/2 cup of black beans and you will still be following the healthy plate challenge.
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