In the final episode to season one of Fresh Focus, Lindsey Purcell, a PACT dietitian, shares her tips for success in putting the Healthy Plate Method into action. In short, the power of small changes can make a big impact over time.
The healthy plate method is not a diet – it’s a strategy to focus on making healthy choices one meal at a time. This concept can be modified and tailored to your individual needs, and that’s where dietitians can help.
Here are some actions you can take now to put this method into place.
Veggies for breakfast
Increase your intake of colorful vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals. The goal is filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables three times a day.
Try adding pico to your eggs! You can make it yourself or find it in the produce section.
Let’s talk noodles
Moving on to one of the most talked about topics I hear on a regular basis: carbohydrates. I would recommend first making the switch from enriched white grains to a whole grain. Then after you cook your pasta, consider reducing the size on your plate so you can fit those non-starchy colorful vegetables onto half of it. Grilled asparagus is a favorite!
Adding the fat
Salad dressings are a great way to add some good fats and breath some life into those leaves. You can experiment with a variety of oils, vinegars, herbs and spices. Here is a basic recipe we love:
- ¾ cup oil (olive, extra virgin olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil)
- ¼ cup vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red or white wine)
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- Salt/pepper/onion powder/red pepper as desired
Hide the goods
Drinking smoothies is a great way to get that healthy plate in. Think about the plate when you build the blender. I recommend the single serve blender for this because it keeps portion size on target. Add a leafy green, small handful of fruit, and a protein source.
Bulk up your protein
Cook your meat in bulk. For example, if you and your spouse decide to grill chicken Sunday, try cooking chicken for three meals instead of just one since the grill is already out and fired up. What if you have a change of plans and don’t eat those extras? No problem, just toss those in an air tight bag and freeze for later!
Lindsey Purcell, MS, RD, LDN is a clinical nutrition supervisor and registered dietitian. She serves Veterans at the Mt Vernon CBOC within the Marion VA Health Care System.