A healthy meal begins with the combination of food portions planned to be served on a plate of food. The experts say we are what we eat. They are right, whatever foods we cultivate a habit of eating is who we will eventually grow into and become over the years. Thinking about preparing our food depends on what we have been used to eating and/or what state of health we are currently in. The plate described in this post is for a person in good health just wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If one is looking to lose weight, this plate portion will also be helpful. If one has been diagnosed with a medical condition, the portions in this plate may have to be twicked to meet the requirements of that specific condition.
To start planning, some of us think of a rice meal or any other Carbohydrate meal. On the other hand, some people prepare their meals around the protein and refer to their meal as a chicken, pork, fish or beef meal. Not many people (if any) think of a mixed vegetable meal garnished with rice! Or a salad meal served with pasta!
Constructing our Plate
Before we plan our food let’s plan the plate. It will be wise to get smaller dinner plates so our total meal is in a healthy size. Some plates have the nutrition portions written on them or pictured on them as a guide. When preparing our meal, it is best to think of it as a vegetable meal. Then plan the protein and carbohydrates around the vegetables. The Portion of the type of food we put on a plate is extremely important to our health. Our plate should be half filled with vegetables, one quarter filled with protein and the other quarter filled with carbohydrates and whole grains. The best drink to go with our meal is water. If we must have fruit juice, squeeze them from fresh fruits. Also in planning our meals it is best to stay away from fried food. Our food is best boiled, baked or grilled. Another important point is to avoid oil and sugar in our food.
The Vegetable Portion
Half of our plate should have vegetables on it. A vegetable is that part of a plant that human beings eat, it has fewer calories than carbs and protein. Consuming more vegetable lowers the risk of lifestyle diseases in the body. Vegetables come in different shapes, different sizes and in different colours. Each different colour of a vegetable has its own unique micro nutrients. There are so many types of vegetables such as leafy, roots, pods, bulbs and seeds. A plate of food should always have a mixture of different vegetables on it. Eating a combination of mixed vegetables maximizes the nutrients we get into our body system, mixed vegetables in a meal also stimulates our appetite to eat. Much better to have mixed veg than half plate of boiled carrots or half plate of broccoli.
Half a plate of vegetable would be the quantity of vegetable or salad that would fill a cereal bowl. Eat your vegetables boiled or raw, avoid frying or baking them. High temperatures will kill the vitamins and minerals in your vegetables. Minimize or completely avoid oil and sugar when preparing and eating your vegetables.
The Protein Portion
One quarter of our plate should contain protein rich foods. What is protein? It is a nutrient important to the body for building body muscles, tissues, bones, cells and blood. Protein can come from plant sources or animal sources. Eating variety is very important. It’s easy to get bored with eating the same thing over and over again. While creating a different menu at every meal builds creativity, enthusiasm and the appetite to eat healthy. Plant foods rich in protein are; brown beans, soy beans, egusi (pumpkin seed), avocado, mushrooms, spinach and Broccoli. Animal sources of protein are; meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk.
The protein portion on one quarter of our plate could be plant based or animal based. An example of a protein portion would be 90g of chicken or meat, 140g of fish, 2 eggs or 150g of beans. Please avoid frying your protein, eat it boiled, baked or grilled.
The Carbohydrate Portion
One quarter of our plate should be filled with carbohydrates or whole meal foods. What is carbohydrates? They are a type of food nutrient in starches, sugars and fibers. They produce energy in the body. They are high in calories. There are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Examples of good carbohydrates are, oats, sweet potato, brown rice and bananas. Examples of bad carbohydrates are sugar, white bread, fizzy drinks and sweets.
The carbohydrate Portion on one quarter of our plate should be one or a combination of the good carbohydrate. An example of a quarter portion is half a cup of cooked rice, two slices of whole meal bread, 1 medium jacket potato/4 egg size potatoes or 1/2 a cup of cooked pasta. Avoid frying your carbs, eat them boiled or baked.
A healthy Eating Plate
Don’t just eat a meal on the go. Sit down at table and take time to enjoy your well planned meal. When we were growing up our parents told us not to talk at table. Unknown to us this rule has great health benefits. If we talk while eating we would not be chewing our food properly and our food will not get digested. Also, talking while eating may get our food into our trachea causing us to choke. We were also told that if we ate our food standing, the food would go into our legs. That was my parents way of getting us to settle at table to have a meal. The best and most healthy drink to have with your meal is clear water. And remember use little or no oil and sugar, stay away from fried food.
Keeping Healthy is not what you do, its who you are!
Let me know how this post has been of help to you, send me pictures of your healthy portion plate, and if you have a question please leave a comment below