I really think that how to make the plate healthy is a big thing for discussion among many families. People want to stay healthy, but they don’t know what they are supposed to eat and what is best for them.
Today, I will be discussing a way with which I relate to most. This way seems reasonable and doable. This way is simple and can be followed easily by anyone who’s looking to stay healthy.
These guidelines are provided by Harvard University and are based on their researches.
Table of Contents
How much do we need throughout the day
Let’s assume that your daily calorie need is 2000. Calories are the amount of energy that you are needed with throughout the day. This is measured in kJ (Unit of energy). You get this energy or calories from the food you eat. You must have read on the food packet how much energy or calorie that particular food have.
Now, everyone has different energy/calories needs for the day. Different countries have different guidelines for the people. Ideally, Women are supposed to have 1600–2000 kJ in a day and men needs 2000-2500 kJ. On internet, you will find different figures.
And trust me, you cannot and should not look on internet to determine how much do you need throughout the day. Because that depends on various factors like where do you live, your activity level, your body type, etc.
I am telling you all this because when we will be making our healthy plate, we won’t just focus on specific calories intake. But, we will be getting a basic idea on how to make a plate healthy and how to fill it the right way.
How to make a healthy plate
Now we will focus on what you should be eating throughout the day.
Assuming you have a giant plate for the day, in that, we will put in some food and that you need for the day.
⇉ The first half of your plate will be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. I won’t be naming any particular fruits and veggies, but throw in some colors and varieties. At least, aim for 3 fruits a day and a good variety of vegetables.
I am not asking you to make a fruit salad out of it, and you are not supposed to eat fruits and veggies together anyway. Our aim is to focus more on healthy eating throughout the day. Instead of eating Ultra processed foods, half of the calories should come from the fruits and veggies.
Eating fresh fruits and veggies will give you all the essential Vitamins and minerals, and you won’t be needing any supplement if you obtain all the nutrients from food itself.
⇉ The other 1/4th of your plate should be filled with whole grains. This could include Wheat, millets, corn, etc. These are generally used to make Chapati, rice or anything with which you eat vegetables with. We need them, but not as much as fruits and vegetables.
I won’t be discussing benefits of whole grains in this part, but these are high in calories, so we don’t need them in high quality. However, even if you eat them in high quantity, you might not cause yourself immediate harm.
⇉ Remaining 1/4th with good quality protein. The last part of plate should be then filled with good quality healthy proteins, it can come from legumes, milk, eggs, fish, soy, beans, nuts, etc.
You won’t be needing too much of these. But proteins are essential in the diet. Not everyone may need protein powder, it’s for those who need a specific amount of protein throughout the day.
⇉ We have made our healthy plate, but we also need to add healthy fats to our diet. Normally we are getting them from food, but cooking oils are a great source of it.
Our cooking oils should be selected wisely, it should not be saturated fats like palm oil, refined oil etc. We may need Unsaturated fats like olive oil, sunflower oil, etc. These are needed for cooking purposes but in moderation.
⇉ Throughout the day, we also need to stay hydrated, that can be done with the help of water, fruit juice, smoothies, tea, milk, etc. Staying hydrated is equally essential.
⇉ Last but not the least, we need to stay active throughout the day. This can be done by doing exercising, dancing, walking or any similar form of exercise. Whatever we are eating, if we want it to show results on our body, then we may need to include movements throughout the day.
This need not be anything fancy, it can be anything fun and enjoyable. Check out some easy ways by which you can burn 100 calories.
Other points to remember
There are few more points, that I think needs a mention.
- In a healthy diet, it is advisable to limit the alcohol, smoking, tobacco, etc.
- Staying active is important for all. A favorite activity can be selected and at least 150 mins per week should be dedicated to it.
- Stick to home cooked food and strictly avoid ultra processed food.
- Give adequate time for food to get digested. Don’t lie down immediately after a meal.
- Support local. Make sure to invest more in local food. When you buy exotic food, it’s not only expensive, but require more fuel to reach to your plate.
- Animal based food needs more land and water as compared to plant based food. It takes more fuel and economy to reach to your plate.
- Avoid food wastage, eat only as much as you can. More than 828 million people starve without food. Consider sharing and donating.
If you are curious to know what environmental impact your diet is putting, use this calculator to find more.
Limitations of this method
I won’t say this method is perfect, and as a health blogger, it’s my responsibility to address the limitations as well.
> As the method or guidelines talk about how much we need to eat and in what quantity, this is a bit confusing. Ideally, according to them, we need a half plate with fruits and veggies, but the quantity is not mentioned, and if you even go by calorie intake, then we may need to measure everything.
Trust me, measuring everything and eating accordingly, makes things harder. It’s not practical to measure food every time.
> These guidelines may work for the origin country but not for all. Food varieties, cooking conditions, cooking styles will differ. In India itself, there are 10000 of cooking styles; even a certain dish is made differently in different states. You cannot consider anything unhealthy just because it’s cooked differently.
> Exact way of cooking vegetables is not mentioned, even it was, then it cannot be applicable for everyone.
> Not for all, especially not for those who want to gain weight, build muscle, or lose weight, because in that case, they would be needing more protein.
> No mention of herbs and spices. Their benefits and role in the diet are not mentioned. They are not extremely necessary, but various cooking methods are incomplete without them.
Overall, these guidelines are for those who wants to stay healthy and don’t know the starting point. These things can be easily adopted, and I am sure most of the people are inadvertently doing it.
What’s up with me
Not trying to copy a certain blogger or something, but this is tell you guys something. I am on and off with WordPress. This is the first month in 2 years when I shared less blog post than ever. Actually, I had a busy month, I was working on 2 review articles simultaneously.
If you guys remembered, I shared a review article before, just like that, these 2 were wordy and a bit challenging for me. In review articles, you have to write a lot of things based on a product and service. And, you also need to match client’s expectation.
I wonder if I can share it with you guys or not, because I haven’t used my name anywhere in them. So, won’t be promoting stuff unnecessarily.
In the comments, tell me if you like these guidelines for a healthy plate. Or tell me what do you do to stay healthy.
Until next time, keep smiling.