the food plate

Understanding Your Plate

When I was growing up, we had the pyramid to explain the basics of how we should eat.  This was what was taught in the schools and while very straight forward, was confusing to many people.

Last year the White House introduced a replacement to the pyramid.  This is called the food plate, which shows what your plate should look like at each meal.  In many ways it is much simpler and easier to understand than the pyramid.     food pyramid

Let’s take a look at the food plate for better understanding:

Protein—these are your meats and should not be larger than the palm of your hand.  Research has shown that meats such as fish and chicken are healthier than red and processed meat {hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, etc}.   Red meats and processed meats should be limited to once or twice a week, while you enjoy fish and chicken the rest of the week.

Whole grains—these are your carbohydrates and should cover a fourth of your plate. Whole grains are gentler on your blood sugar and insulin than the refined grains we normally eat.   Some examples of whole grains are whole wheat, brown rice, barley, whole wheat pasta, etc.

Vegetables—almost half of your plate should be filled with some sort of vegetable.  These are low in calories but very filling.  Vegetables are rich in color and nutrients.  A few vegetable suggestions would be green beans, carrots, squash, peppers, etc.

the food plate         Fruits—fruits should make up half of the plate with your vegetables.  Between your fruits and vegetables you would have a very colorful plate.  Many fruits are naturally sweet and cut that craving for something sweet. A few fruit suggestions are banana, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apple, grapes and oranges.

Drink—water is the best drink in the world.  Standard guidelines recommend eight glasses of water per day, but some people need more.  An occasional cup of coffee and tea are also healthy and beneficial.  Skip the sugary drinks found in soft drinks and sports drinks, while limiting juice, milk and other dairy products to no more than a serving or two a day.

Of course, no action plan is complete without a good exercise plan.   I encourage you to try and exercise at least thirty minutes each day.

Does your plate look this balanced?  Where can you make changes to your plate?