Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What to eat?

Most people wonder what they should eat but how many of us wonder how much should I have?  This is not in reference to serving sizes, but how many serving?  How many servings of milk, grain, fats, etc should one have a day?  Sorry to say this, but there is no cut and dry answer.  It depends on the diet you choose to follow; here we are referring to healthy diets like the Mediterranean, the DASH Diet and numerous others.  Keeping up with the research and what the different experts and societies say becomes frustrating and cumbersome.  Even if you do decide on a specific diet you want to follow how will you keep count of all the different serving you ate each day without getting burnt out.  Well the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) came up with a solution, it is quite easy.  Its name is My Plate.

Simplicity is the key regarding My Plate.  The beauty of this new nutritional guide is it allows you to determine how healthy your plate is with just one glance.  It also works wonders with children.  It makes parents job easy by just taking a quick look at the plate and teaching children how to eat healthy easier.  Simply divide your plate into 4 sections, 1 fourth vegetables, 1 fourth fruit, 1 fourth grain (half of which at least should be whole grains) and 1 fourth proteins and finally have a serving of dairy 3 times a day.
Edamame, tangerine, tuna salad and whole grain crackers

Everything has a downside, and so does My Plate.  The problem with this design is plate size.  If you choose a plate too big, no matter how healthy the food you put on it, you will over eat.  My recommendation is to stick to 9 inch plates for adults and teenagers, not the 12 inch plates most people use these days.  And 6 inch plates for school age children. 

My plate makes eating healthy easier, without having to remember numbers of serving or counting calories.  But it is crucial to put healthy food on that plate.  For example French fries are not a vegetable, try carrot sticks instead.  Finally, be mindful of the size of your plate.  Always try to use the smaller plate, you will cut calories. If your plates are too big, it is definitely worth buying a new set of dishes.  It will help both your wallet and waistline in the end.

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