A Well Balanced Diet

If you followed along with the challenge this week, you have learned proper portion sizes and have eaten a variety of food groups in your daily diet.  Congratulations!

During the challenges, you may have had difficulty remembering if you need to eat more vegetables, how many servings of healthy fats you have had, or how much protein you can eat at dinner.  This is normal and it will become easier with time, but here are some helpful tips for developing a well-balanced diet.

Use the Plate Division Rule

healthy plate

As a general rule, using a 9 inch plate, cover 1/3 of your plate with vegetables, 1/8 with fruit, 1/4 with a lean meat or protein source, and 1/4 with a whole grain.  And remember to eat your dairy servings as snacks or sides – 2 to 3 servings a day.

Plan Ahead

Choose a day to sit down and plan out meals.  This can be incredibly helpful for following a healthy eating plan.

Start by writing down how many servings of each food group you can have.

Carbohydrates:  5 ounces
Healthy Fats: 3 teaspoons
Protein: 4 ounces
Dairy: 3 servings
Vegetables: 3 cups
Fruits: 2 servings

Then you can plan when you are eating which servings.

Breakfast: 1 grains, 1 dairy, 1 fruit
Morning Snack: 1/2 fruit
Lunch: 2 grain, 2 oz meat, 1 vegetable, 1 dairy, 1 teaspoon healthy fat
Afternoon Snack: 1 dairy, 1/2 fruit
Dinner: 2 grain, 2 vegetables, 2 oz meat, 2 teaspoons healthy fat

Finally, translate your servings into actual food:

Breakfast: 1 cup bran flakes with 1 cup low-fat milk and 1 medium banana
Morning Snack: 1/2 apple, sliced
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich: 2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 oz (2 slices) of deli turkey,  2 slices of low-fat cheese, 1 tsp light mayonnaise, 1/2 cup Romaine Lettuce, 1/2 cup sliced tomato; 1 medium pear
Afternoon Snack: 8 ounce container of low-fat yogurt with 1/4 cup blueberries
Dinner: 2 oz roasted chicken breast (cooked in 2 teaspoons olive oil), 1 baked sweet potato, 1 cup cooked broccoli, 2 ounce whole wheat dinner roll

The first time you plan, it may take a little time.  But with everything, practice makes perfect and it will become second nature to you.

For more meal planning tips, check out the following websites:

How to Meal Plan for Your Family:
http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Family-Meal-Planning.aspx

Choose my Plate:
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx

 

 

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