Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you go to the grocery store and see all of the options for food? When it comes to trying to eat better, one great way to get started is by using the plate method. This approach helps you portion out your food and fill your plate in a way that helps control blood sugar but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
The plate method uses a plate as your guide and here is how it works:
- Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables which will help support your immune system with vitamins and minerals. You’re looking for a variety of colors and textures and these can come from fresh or frozen options. These are your volume foods, so you can eat a lot of them for very few calories, and filling half of your plate with them means that you get a nice big plate of food for a reasonable amount of calories. Just compare – if you only ate 5 oz of salmon and ½ cup of brown rice at a meal, that totals about __ vs if you had the same 5 oz of salmon, ½ cup of brown rice, and added 2 cups of roasted broccoli the totals are now ___. Think about how much longer that would take to eat and how much more satisfying it would be – not to mention the increased vitamins and minerals from a dark green veggie!
- Then one-quarter of your plate should be filled with complex carbs or whole grains; it can be things like oatmeal, brown rice, berries, or sweet potatoes. If you’re the type of person who likes a lower carb plan, you can choose low glycemic options like berries or smaller portions of high fiber carbs like oatmeal and bump up the healthy fats like avocado or nuts with your meal. This section of your plate will act to fuel your brain and muscles with energy.
- Finally, one-quarter of your plate should be filled with lean protein. Aim for less processed options and less red meat and focus on options such as fish, chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, eggs, and low-fat dairy. The protein will help with the recovery and rebuilding of lean muscle mass.
If you are having a sandwich or bowl-style meal – this can still work. For the bowl, start with a leafy green base and top with whole grains and lean protein. For the sandwich, look for a whole grain wrap or bread and ways to add vegetables and lean protein. When it comes to eating, everyone has their own needs and cultural preferences. Thus, a balanced meal with the plate method is a great way to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs without feeling restricted or overwhelmed. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!