Eat Well Plate

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The Eat well Plate is a pictorial summary of the main food groups. It is a simple visual aid of foods that are recommended for a healthy diet.

1. To build up your plate, start with non-starchy vegetables.

Fill half your plate with vegetables and a smaller number of fruits. A ratio of 5:1 is helpful. Aim not to exceed two portions of fruit.

Eat non-starchy veggies, e.g. leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans and peppers, courgettes, onions, etc. They are naturally low in calories and sugar and are high in fibre.

By filling half of your plate with non-starchy veggies, you can quickly meet half of your daily veggie target. Aim for colour and variety; aim for two portions of each vegetable colour, the colours being: red, orange, yellow, green, purple and white. 

Don’t exceed more than two portions of fruit a day regarding fruit. 

Keep colour and variety in mind. And remember that potatoes are a starchy vegetable ( they fit into this category )and can hurt blood sugar. Don’t eat more than one portion of potatoes; eat various fruits and vegetables ( you are getting plenty of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals ).

2. Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein

Lean animal protein meats such as chicken, pork or beef, fish, and eggs or vegetable protein such as lentils and beans, which can also double as starches. 

Limit your meat consumption and avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage. ( In blue zone areas they only eat 4g of meat four times a month )

Protein foods vary in calories but are low in sugar. Leaner meats have fewer calories as they don’t contain much fat. Protein sources can be mixed into salads or served with vegetables on a plate.

3. Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains or starchy foods

Grains and starchy foods vary in calories, fat, sugar and fibre content but they are all high in carbohydrates. 

Healthy whole or intact grains, e.g., whole wheat, barley, corn, oats, brown rice, quinoa and foods that are products of them, such as whole wheat pasta—have a mild effect on blood sugar and insulin.

White bread, white rice, and other refined grains cause an insulin spike.

Starchy vegetables such as baked or mashed potatoes (with the skin), roasted or boiled turnips, carrot and parsnip and butternut squash should be limited and eaten in moderation.

4. Aim for a serving of dairy or dairy alternative.

Try to choose dairy foods that are full-fat and natural, and contain little to no added sugar.

A cup of whole-fat milk or 6 ounces of plain full-fat yoghurt or 1 ounce of cheese gives you additional minerals, vitamins, and protein.

Dairy foods vary in fat and calories and some products are commonly sweetened with sugar.

5. Eat healthy plant oils in moderation.

Choose healthy vegetable oils like olive, coconut, and avocado in moderation.

Avoid hydrogenated oils, which contain unhealthy trans fats, and remember low-fat does not necessarily mean “healthy.”

6. Drink water & herbal teas.

Reduce coffee and tea consumption. Aim to avoid sugary drinks, limit milk and dairy products to one to two servings per day and choose full-fat over a low-fat alternative.

7. Stay active:

Movement is vital to health. Staying active is essential in weight management.

The main message of the Eat Well Plate is a focus on diet quality:

  • Not all carbohydrates are created equal. The type of carbohydrate in your diet is more important than the amount of carbohydrate in the diet because some sources of carbohydrate, like vegetables ( other than potatoes ), fruits, whole grains, and beans, are healthier than others

  • The Eat Well Plate advises consumers to avoid sugary beverages, a significant source of calories—usually with little or no nutritional value. Perhaps even an anti-nutrient

  • The Eat Well Plate encourages the use of healthy oils

  • Eat whole foods as opposed to processed

  • Aim not to eat late at night. Finish eating before 8 pm at the latest

  • Choose variety. Chooses different colours of fruit and vegetables and different protein, fat and carbohydrate wholefood sources. Eat something different every day, e.g. Do not eat the same breakfast every day

  • Consume a variety of vegetables and colours every day

  • Learn to love food again. We don’t misuse or abuse what we love.