Food Plate

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.

A Portion Plate – Amazon 

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

Healthy Food Portions
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

Mixed vegetables
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

Mixed Protein foods

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

Carbohydrates

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

Mixed vegetable meal

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

This article has 43 Comments

  1. Hello Ronke – great advice on healthy eating.  I have always believed in eating a balanced meal but I need work. My ideal plate has been one half protein, a quarter of vegetables and a quarter of carbs. I love meat but I stay away from fried for the most part. But I am working on cutting it back to a quarter out of concerns over saturated fats. Your article has given me encouragement. Thanks!

  2. Hi, there,

    I remember reading about this many years ago. I’ve read a myriad of nutrition/dieting books over the years. You always learn something new lol.

    What about fats? Honestly, I don’t remember that part. The plate is supposed to look like this: 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbs.

    We tend to demonize carbs. Many diets like Keto ban them altogether or restrict them severely. I think it’s impossible (maybe not impossible but definitely hard) to live without carbs. I think it’s all about balance.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Fats have a way of attaching themselves to on of the three types of food. You are either cooking in them – frying or adding them on. We just have to minimise our use of fats. 

  3. I have read a lot of articles about how a healthy plate of food should be. This article has to be one of the best I have ever read. It is clear, concise, and very easy to read. Everything is explained very clearly and is easy to follow if you want to eat good and at the same time be healthy. The importance of letting your vegetables occupying most of the space on your plate cannot be underestimated. I usually use a mix of broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomatoes and parsley. 

    Your explanations on what the different nutrients do is also explained in a clear and uncomplicated way. It should be easy to follow your recommendation. Great article.

    I got the same advice from my parents as you did. Sit down and eat everything on your plate and don´t speak with food in your mouth. I have done the same thing with my kids, giving them the same advice.

    -Roy-

  4. This is the most simple yet comprehensive explaination of a a balanced food plate that I have ever read, and I have read a few. I usually used more carbohydrates than vegetables in my plate and sometimes left it out all together. Though a vegeterian, I can see where I have been mistaken in my plate proportion. The changes will be made.

  5. It’s very important to eat a healthy balanced diet. Many people are quite unsure what that looks like. Your post lays it all out beautifully. The food looks delicious and I love the plate. It’s a very good way of seeing the amount of each food you should be consuming. I must admit I eat to much meat and not enough protein. I do however eat a lot of vegetables as well as fruit. I’m sure lots of people will get a deal of benefit from reading this.

  6. Hello Juliet,

    This website is a joy to view. It is easy to navigate from one page to the other. The monthly posts are displayed very conveniently on the right side which makes it simple to locate a particular month. The graphics are extremely clear while every picture is pertinent to the post. In addition, the array of recipes from different African countries would be a delight for viewers who enjoy trying diverse dishes. An excellent well laid out and informative website.

  7. Hi Juliet, Thanks for an in-depth, insightful post. I have been hearing more and more of eating a plant-based diet. I suppose plants could be the basis for the diet with a few carbs and proteins added. I try to eat in this way most of the time. Occasionally I will splurge on my diet, specifically if I am invited out to someones home for a meal. It is great to start life out eating this way so you do not have to spend the end of your lifetime fixing what a poor diet has broken.

  8. As I’m in a weight loss niche your article Is very interesting Never even gave the African diet this way but it definitely makes good nutritional sense to me and I love your recipes if you don’t mind I might add one of them to the recipe section of my site.

    I really enjoyed the way you explain the proportions on your plate it’s a great example  we have an African American diet witch is very good but it’s not nearly as healthy as the African diet.

    As I’m checking this out because I’m always looking for different ways to accelerate the weight loss regime

    1. It’s great to meet someone of like mind. Yes please Bill add my recipes with a link to my site.

      Thanks for your comment. 

  9. I think you’ve done a wonderful job of explaining and simplifying healthy eating for your readers who may not have the knowledge that you do.  Planning the portions and the proportions is very smart.  

    By explaining what you mean by protein, carbohydrates and vegetables your readers should understand clearly.  If they are motivated to eat healthy meals and follow your formula, it makes it simple for them.  I really like your approach:  Reduce the size of the plate.  Plan one half of the plate for veggies, one quarter for protein and one quarter for carbohydrates, (healthy ones).

    I know there are many people who want to eat more healthy than they do and they don’t really know how to go about it.  You’ve provided them a simple roadmap to follow.  They can start eating healthy meals right away.

    I also appreciate your final statement, “Keeping Healthy is not what you do, its who you are!”

    Well done!

  10. Hi 

    I agree, vegetables should always present most of our meal. And as you say that cooking in high temperature of vegetables could lose or kill nutrients, so it’s better a half cook?

     I believe vegetables foods can prevent diseases. Yes, take time in eating, chewing well, not talking while eating. I learned from my mother how to cook vegetables with coconut juice and junk fruit. Thanks for sharing this and good tips that avoid oily to eat foods like in fried cooking way, and I’ve plan to avoid sweet foods or minimize adding sugar in coffee, sometimes no sugar in my coffee, and I love drinking clear water of course, my kidney working well. We need also regular exercise, 30 minutes walking after meal. 

    Thanks for this post greatly reminds me too. 

    Cheers! 

    Edilberto

  11. This is a very nice and beautiful site full of information about healthy food. In this era that we are living, we really need healthy foo. Thank you very much for your article.

  12. Hello Juliet

    Thanks so much for sharing something most of us rarely find online, healthy African diet.

    As someone who`s been to Africa, enjoyed different African cuisine and always want to cook more fresh, healthy African food at home, I do feel left out when trying to find cooking tips for African foods online.

    I`m a lousy cook, but I still love eating things like west African yam and red oil or fufu(I hope I write it right).

    Very informative and well written, really appreciate you sharing this.

    Cheers Roamy

  13. What a good article  you have just presented for comments…it is very important that well balance diet or nearly balance must be consume by people in order to maintain healthy condition. Because frequent eating of high cards and fatty foods leads to lifestyle diseases. You are very correct to say that eating while talking will cause accidental choking of the food that you just ate, and that you tend to swallow food immediately with less chewing while talking and leads to some form of indigestion with less nutrient absorb. Likewise too much eating of carbohydrates and sweets will lead to diabetes and obesity that leads to the increase of chronic diseases. Your presentation of using plates with drawings of go,glow and grow foods are a big reminders to people who dont know what amount of food that they will eat or consume. Thanks and keep safe!

  14. Your information could easily be for any kind of food, not just African.  The practical way to determine that you have the proper amount of needed food families makes it easy to remember.  1 half of the food on the plate being vegetable makes it easy to have the other half divided evenly between protein and carbs.  This does make a balanced diet easy to recognize.  Your assurance that this balance is for someone who is at the desired weight, and in good health is also a good reminder.

    We can help ourselves a lot by what we eat.  There are often good choices, we just don’t think them through.  With your guide, it will be easier, even when we need to have more veggies and fewer carbs and protein. Helping our families realize that they can be in control of their eating habits and have healthier bodies is a benefit to pass on. Often we don’t actually allow time for meals, but eat at our desks or in our cars.  While this may seem an OK thing once in a while, as you pointed out, we need to take time, sit down and eat and enjoy our meal.  Realize we have had a good meal.

    Thanks for some good reminders for better health at mealtime.

  15. I thought plates like this were merely whimsical.  I had no idea, until now, they were functional.  I can definitely see the benefit for someone who is looking to either develop or maintain healthful eating habits. Many people learn by seeing. This can definitely help people learn by seeing their correct portions. Thank you for sharing.

  16. This is a well organized, creative and comprehensively written article. It is very commendable to see how you have tied in posture with healthy eating. This is sometimes overlooked by persons desiring to eat healthy.I also remember my mother fixing us around the dining table as she stated that a slumped posture would contribute to poor digestion. You also give another piece of solid and practical advice in drinking water after meals. Balance and consistency that you emphasize are very important. I would suggest changing up your ending a bit by saying;’ keeping healthy is not just what you do, but who you are becoming as a result of your actions which later form your habits.”I love love your article. An Excellent masterpiece. Keep up the good work.

  17. I’ve seen these plates before but didn’t know where to get them. Excellent information on the nutritional needs and these plates make it so easy to get the right ratios of protein, carbohydrates and Vegetables. My wife is a nutritional therapist and has recommended them to her client’s especially as they are slightly smaller than standard dinner plates which in turn helps with your calorie intake. 

  18. Very helpful article on balanced and well-planned meal. The advice according to which we should not have our meal in a hurry is a little challenging, especially when we have a very busy day ahead 🙂

    Obviously, a healthy lifestyle is conditioned by a healthy diet. I personally had to learn some lessons on the hard way, after dealing with some minor health problems. I now pay more attention to what and when I choose to eat and I also reap the benefits of my good choice.

  19. I’m so glad, just read this article.Better time than now can not find where all the garden products are free to take and freshly picked.This I knew before how to divide the plate into portions but it was news to me that rice and such also add I usually eat at that time meat and salad or stewed vegetables and I have to say it tastes full.

    But still once a week I want to eat something well fried

  20. Very interesting! It is true: we are what we eat. So let’s take care of what we eat. Honestly, I didn’t know that there are plates that suggest you how you should fill your plate, with which kind of meal.It is a great tool to know what you should cook and eat. And using a small plate is another good tip to avoid eating too large portions of food!

  21. What a great deal of information that you have given out in this awesome and interesting article I must give you a big thumbs up… I encountered an article like this on the internet and it changed my knowledge about the healthy eating plate and gave me a new system to approach it…I have learned from your article what kind of healthy food should be on a healthy plate and I will follow my healthy plate by changing my eating habits. I will mainly focus on carbohydrate-protein because it is very beneficial for the body which increases the body’s resistance to disease and strength.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  22. Thanks so much for sharing good information about what is a healthy eating plate. as I’m looking for information about this topic, I found your website and I’m glad I did.

    I was talking with my sister, and we agree we need to make some eating changes as we are looking to lose some weight and be healthier. Your article helped us a lot to understand how a healthy eating dish should look like and the carbs pictures was an opening eyes to me as you included potatoes on it!! I need to keep track of carbs and this picture will help me a lot.

    More vegetables, the right portion of proteins and carbs and some exercise! 

  23. Hi

    Getting the plate right makes the planning  of your meals much easier. If you know how much of each food group is required, it helps in your shopping habits,as  you  buy what you need and avoid all the unhealthy foods. It is still difficult to gauge how much food to cook, especially if you have a large family and the habit of vegetable to shrink when it is cooked. I think your article is useful and should help people to avoid over filling their plates or conversely not enough so you remain hungry.

    Thanks

    Antonio

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