Creating a healthy, balanced plate
MANY PERSONS struggle to eat healthier; they try to kick-start a weight loss journey or find another way to maintain dietary health. However, there are many ways to keep track of your food intake and there is online advice to help you eat healthier, but this is possibly one of the easiest ways to do so without stressing over counting calories and macros.
The Healthy Plate is a simple and easy-to-follow visual guide to know how much to eat from the various food categories. The Healthy Plate helps you to eat proper portions to better manage your weight. Regular consumption of the right proportions of foods that are nutrient-rich and high in fibre can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases in the long run.
You can take the guesswork out of preparing a nutritious, balanced and satisfying meal with this three-step guide to building a healthy plate.
1. START WITH NON-STARCHY VEGGIES
Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, green beans and peppers. These types of vegetables are naturally low in calories and sugar and are rich in fibre. By simply filling half of your dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables, you can easily meet half of your daily target, which is three cups per day for men and two and a half cups per day for women. Remember, frozen vegetables like broccoli, green beans and spinach are just as good for you as fresh, so keep a few bags of them on hand as backup.
2. FILL A QUARTER OF YOUR PLATE WITH LEAN PROTEIN
Make the next quarter of your plate protein foods, such as chicken, lean meats like beef tenderloin, fish, eggs and even lentils and beans, which can also double as starches. Protein foods vary in calories, but are low in sugar. Leaner meats like those listed above will have fewer calories, as they do not contain much fat.
3. FILL UP TO A QUARTER OF YOUR PLATE WITH WHOLE GRAINS OR STARCHY FOODS
Grains and starchy foods vary in calories, fat, sugar and fibre, but they are all higher in carbohydrates. Healthy grains and starchy foods include brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta and barley, baked or mashed potatoes (with the skin) as well as roasted or boiled turnips and butternut squash.
In addition to these foods, you can also have a serving of dairy such as one cup of low-fat milk or six ounces of plain low-fat yogurt or one ounce of cheese, which gives you additional vitamins minerals and protein. Dairy foods vary in fat and calories, and some products, such as yogurt, are commonly sweetened with sugar. Try to choose dairy foods that contain little to no added sugar and that are lower in fat.
A serving of fruit like half cup of berries, a small apple, banana or orange also makes a great dessert. Compared to sweets, fruit is fairly low in calories, has no added sugar (just natural sugar) and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.
SOURCE: Dr Rivane Chybar Virgo, medical doctor and health and wellness coach: Health Talk Sunday Series.