Have you ever wondered what it means to eat a healthy, balanced diet? Although research in the nutrition world is ever-changing, the basics are simple. We can feel our best and enjoy more out of life when we make healthy food choices a part of our daily routine!
Let’s take a look at The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate to get a better idea of what a balanced plate at meal time might look like:
We can use this as a guide for creating healthy, balanced meals — served on a plate or packed in a lunch box. Stick a copy on the fridge for a great reminder!
Breaking it down:
1. We want to make most of our meals vegetables and fruits
½ of the plate
Shoot for color and variety. Think of making the plate look like a rainbow
2. Grab whole grains
¼ of the plate
Whole grains like whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods made with them, like whole wheat pasta, have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains. We do not want our blood sugar to get too high or low so keeping it close to normal is important.
3. Protein Power
¼ of the plate
Fish, chicken, beans, seeds and nuts are some great protein sources that can be mixed into salads, and pair nicely with cooked vegetables.
4. Healthy plant oils
Add healthy fats like olive, coconut, avocado, canola, soy, sunflower, peanut, and others to the plate. Peanut butter and apples pair well for a snack and avocado is a creamy and tasty snack packed with Omega’s, awesome for brain and heart health.
5. Drink water
Skip drinks sweetened with sugar. Flavor water using fruit and herbs or choose sparkling water!
6. Stay active
Staying active is also important for balanced health and well being. Keep your fitness fun and move for at least 30 minutes a day!
To make healthy food choices, we can focus on creating balanced meals based on food groups. Include vegetables, protein, healthy fat, and whole grains.
By working with the basic food groups, we can easily prepare a complete meal that doesn’t require a lot of thought, like tofu stir fry with green vegetables and brown rice. Bon appetit!