We all know we need to eat more whole foods and fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. But, knowing the exact portion sizes for every single food out there can be daunting.
This past summer, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) introduced a helpful visual to make life easy. They call it MyPlate; I call it the half plate vegetable rule.
- Make half your plate vegetables at mealtime, or combine fruits and vegetables on half your plate. This will help add filling fiber to your plate, keep the calories down, and add some quality nutrition to your meal.
- One quarter of your plate should be a protein choice. This could be anything that has significant protein like lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, beans, or tofu. Adding this protein will help make sure you get the amino acids you need in the day, and help to keep you fuller longer.
- The other quarter of your plate should be a high quality carbohydrate source. An example of this is brown rice, whole wheat pasta, more beans, peas, legumes, or whole grain breads. Adding this carbohydrate will help round out your meal, keep it balanced, and help you feel satisfied.
- Use added fats sparingly on the plate and make sure they are healthy fats like oils, nuts, seeds, or avocado.
- Fat free or low fat dairy can be included in moderation. An example is a cup of skim milk or 6 ounces of a fat free yogurt.
The plate rule can be very helpful to those who don’t have time to create different meals for the family, or for those who don’t want to worry about all the details involved in calorie counting. It’s simple, and easy to remember when dining out as well. You can apply the principle anywhere–all you have to do is be determined to stick to it!
Do you have any plate portion techniques that you use to keep your meals healthy?