UNC Health Care
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The Best Plate Scenario

012414_AnnaGraceRotskoAnna Grace Rotsko is a Dietetic Intern at Rex Wellness Center through North Carolina Central University. She is passionate about delicious foods that are also good for your health.

Food pie shows food types as a percentage of a circle
Grans and veggies should account for 60% of daily intake.

It can be hard to know if you are getting enough of the right foods to give you the right nutrition so you feel your best. Though understanding nutrition can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be. A simple trick to getting the nutrition you need is to follow ‘The Plate Method.’

This method consists of eating lean proteins (poultry, fish, pork, beans, tofu), whole grains (brown rice, whole grain breads, corn, sweet potatoes), and an assortment of vegetables (cooked in small amounts of plant based oils if necessary) with a side of low-fat dairy and/or fruit.

Try baking, grilling, or sautéing your lean protein, for example, and include three different colors of vegetables on your plate. A quarter of your plate should be lean meat or other protein of your choice, a quarter of your plate should be a carbohydrate of your choice, and the rest of your plate should be vegetables (try not to drown them in butter or cheese sauce)! Don’t forget your side of fruit or low fat dairy of choice with your meal.

The Plate Method. shows veggies as half and a quarter each of meat and grains
The Plate Method. half plate of veggies and a quarter plate of meta and grans/starches respectively.

This is how your plate should look:

If you get tired of monotony, do not fear! You can still follow the plate method with sandwiches, pastas, salads, tacos, and almost anything. Just make sure you are getting about the same portions of lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables that you would if they were simply on your plate. You can also add the  low-fat dairy or fruit to your meal (reduced fat cheese, non-fat yogurt) but keep it in the quantity of a side dish… don’t let it take over the meal.

By following the plate method you will be getting the protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function optimally!

If you are interested in learning more about bettering your nutrition, you can schedule a private nutrition consultation with one of our registered dietitians at the Rex Wellness Centers. Visit our site for more information!

Caution:  If you gain weight while following the plate method, start using a smaller plate and re-evaluate your cooking methods to find hidden fats that can add up quickly.