Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Portion Your Plate

Knowing which foods to eat to stay healthy can seem daunting. Properly portioning your plate ensures that you eat more of the foods that are good for you, like fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of those that tend to be higher in fat or calories, like meats and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables fill your belly, leaving less room for unhealthy, high-calorie foods.

Here’s how it works: Take a dinner plate and draw an imaginary line down the middle. Split one side in half again so you have three sections.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Try to make this section as colorful as you can. Studies show that different colored fruits and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals that provide various health benefits.

Meats
Fill one of the smaller sections with lean cuts of meat. For example, try fish such as salmon, cod or tuna, or seafood like shrimp or clams. Other good choices are skinless poultry or lean cuts of beef or pork. For an alternative to meat, try eggs, tofu and low-fat cheese.

Carbohydrates
The last section should contain starchy foods (stack only as high as a deck of cards). Choose whole-grain products rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. For example, try brown or wild rice, or whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers. You can
also fill this section of your plate with starchy vegetables such as potatoes, acorn or butternut squash, peas or corn.

Fauquier Health’s LIFE Center offers nutritional programs with certified dietitian Aren Dodge. The LIFE Center also features two certified diabetes educators. Call 540-316-2640 for more information.

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