My balanced plate is based on the Mediterranean style diet and the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which both encourage the consumption of whole foods and a balance of nutrients from each of the macronutrients. I find a really simple and practical way to build a healthy, balanced plate and gauge roughly how much you should be eating at each main meal is to follow the ‘hand approach’. In clinic, I’ve found that people are much more responsive to practical solutions and giving them an easy way to think about what they should be trying to include at each meal is really helpful. Additionally, it helps to remind them of the importance each food group plays and how they work together to bring us satiety and nourishment. Quite often I find overeating is not a case of ‘willpower’, but usually just an unbalanced plate. This obviously isn’t going to be 100% accurate for everyone, but this approach is a great foundation to start with. Check-in each day and adjust the ‘serves’ to meet how your feeling and what you need that day, which will be dependent on your appetite, exercise etc. In time you’ll become more in tune with your body and learn to build your plate without even thinking about it. As a general rule for everyone, here’s how to get started building a healthy and satisfying plate.
TWO HANDFULS OF NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES
Zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, kale, spinach, capsicum, green beans, rocket, broccoli etc.
ONE HANDFUL OF COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
High fibre whole grains such as oats, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, wholegrain bread and pasta, or starchy vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin, legumes and beans.
ONE PALM OF PROTEIN
Animal proteins such as sustainably caught wild fish, free-range poultry and eggs, grass-fed dairy products and red meat. Plant proteins such as legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and non-GMO soy proteins.
ONE THUMB OF HEALTHY FATS
Food sources of fats such as olives, nuts, seeds and avocados. For cooking use extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil.
Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of how to build a healthy plate, however, if you feel like you are in need of more specific support, please reach out. I see clients face to face in Sydney or online and help them learn to lead healthier and happier lives, without the fuss.