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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Bari Levine

How to Create a Healthy Plate

When it comes to nutrition, it's easy to get bogged down in flashy headlines, measuring portions and the minutiae of micronutrients (e.g., vitamins and minerals). But if your goal is a balanced, healthful diet, the guidelines are pretty simple.

The Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School jointly created the Healthy Eating Plate to clearly depict what a balanced meal looks like. According to this guidance, at each meal, your plate should consist of:

  • 1/2 vegetables or fruit (excluding potatoes)

  • 1/4 whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley, oatmeal, whole wheat bread)

  • 1/4 healthy protein (skinless white meat, white-flesh fish, eggs, plain yogurt)

While the visual is helpful, know that you don't have to divide your plate into three parts. A turkey burger on a whole wheat bun with a side salad would work, as would a homemade stir-fry of broccoli and peppers, tofu and brown rice.

I gave up counting calories and measuring portions years ago, but I frequently come back to this image to ensure I'm staying on track. And unless you are training for an athletic event, or trying to combat a gastrointestinal problem, this is a great way you too can ensure you're fueling your body with the energy it needs (and not just the treats it craves).

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