Healthy Eating · obesity · weight loss

The Healthy Portion Plate

The Plate Method for Healthy Eating

A simple, visual way to change your eating habits is to imagine your plate divided into sections as you portion out your meals.  To decrease your weight and decrease your chances for cancer and heart disease, it is suggested to fill your plate 50% with vegetables and/or fruit.  Lean meat can be about 25% and whole grains the remaining 25%.

If you are a man or an active woman, then you may need more food than is on the “plate.”  In that case, add skim milk on the side, bread, and/or fruit.

How does this plate compare to the last meal you ate at home?  How does that compare to the last meal you ate at a restaurant?  I imagine that if you ate at a steak house, then 50% was meat, 25% was starch (mashed potatoes or French fries), and possibly 25% was a vegetable.   If you ate at an Italian restaurant, probably 75% was starch (pasta) and 25% was meat.

If this is far off from how you currently eat, try to make one change a habit first.  How about trying to fill your plate with 25% vegetables?  Once that has become a habit, increase it to 50%.  Does that sound too challenging?  Then try to decrease your meat to 25% of your plate and fill up on whole grains instead.  Keep on persisting, and soon it will be a habit.


Contributed by Kelli Worley MS, RDN, LD


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