Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Although there are so many diets, plans, and products out there that promise “easy” ways to stay healthy, the simplest answer is often the best one – eating a balanced plate of food.
A balanced plate of food will ensure you get all the essential nutrients your body needs while avoiding unhealthy processed foods.
But what does a healthy eating plate look like? In this article, we will explore the basics of creating a balanced plate at mealtime and provide helpful tips on how to make every meal nutritious and delicious.
What Is A Healthy Plate?
A healthy plate is one that is half full of fruits and vegetables, a quarter full of whole grains, and a quarter full of protein. This balance of foods provides the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Creating A Healthy Plate
When it comes to creating a healthy plate, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, aim for half of your plate to be filled with fruits and vegetables. This can be a mix of fresh, frozen, or canned options. Just make sure to watch out for added sugars in canned fruit and vegetable options.
Second, fill one-quarter of your plate with lean protein sources. This could include grilled chicken or fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs.
Finally, the last quarter of your plate should be whole grains. Good options include brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread.
Remember, you don’t need to go overboard with every single meal. Just focus on making small changes that will help you create a healthier overall eating pattern.
A healthy eating plate should include a variety of whole grains. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients and can help you feel fuller longer.
Some great whole-grain options to include in your healthy eating plate are oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread. Aim to make at least half of your grain servings whole grains.
If you’re not used to eating whole grains, start by gradually adding them to your diet. Swap white rice for brown rice at meals, or try a new whole grain like quinoa or barley.
Once you’re more comfortable with incorporating whole grains into your diet, you can experiment with different types of recipes that use them as a base ingredient.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the healthy eating plate encourages people to fill half their plate with these nutrient-rich foods. That means including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables of all different types, both fresh and frozen.
Some of the best choices include leafy greens, such as spinach and kale; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and brightly colored fruits like oranges and berries. Aim for at least four different servings of fruits and vegetables every day, more if possible.
And remember that it’s best to eat them in their whole, unprocessed form rather than juiced or as part of processed food.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps our bodies build and maintain muscle tissue, as well as providing other important functions. The recommended amount of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or about 46 grams per day for a 150-pound person).1
Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds. It’s also important to choose protein sources that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol to help keep your heart healthy. When choosing protein foods, try to limit processed meats like sausage and lunchmeat, as well as high-fat dairy products like whole milk and ice cream.
1 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2020 Available at https://wwwgov/dietaryguidelines/2020/resources/summary-tables
Why Should You Always Make A Healthy Plate For Yourself?
When it comes to making a healthy plate for yourself, there are many reasons why you should always aim for balance and variety. First, eating a mix of different foods helps ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Second, trying different foods keeps meals interesting and can help you avoid becoming bored with your diet. Finally, having a variety of healthy options to choose from makes it more likely that you’ll stick with your healthy eating goals in the long term.
So, what does a healthy plate look like? A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with whole grains, and one-quarter with lean protein. Add a glass of low-fat milk or water and you’ve got a well-rounded meal that will give you energy and help keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Remember To Stay Hydrated
The body is composed of 60% water, so it’s no surprise that staying hydrated is essential to good health. Unfortunately, many people don’t drink enough fluids every day. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume at least 3 liters (about 13 cups) and women consume at least 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of fluids a day.
There are many different ways to stay hydrated. Water is the best choice, but other fluids can also help keep you hydrated, including milk, 100% fruit juice, and even tea or coffee (without added sugar). You can also get fluids from the foods you eat, such as watermelon and soup.
Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot outside or when you’re exercising. Drinking fluids can help keep your body temperature down and prevent heat exhaustion. It’s also important to drink extra fluids if you have diarrhea or are vomiting.
If you’re not used to drinking a lot of fluids, start by gradually increasing the amount you drink every day. And be sure to carry a water bottle with you so you can take a sip whenever you’re thirsty.