How to make the plate healthy

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.

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.

Healthy plate by - Harvard University
PC- Harvard University

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.

58 responses to “How to make the plate healthy”

  1. I agree that knowing how to make a healthy plate is an important topic for discussion among many families. Thanks for sharing.

      • My idea for healthy eating is to focus on consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It is important to limit processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats. Portion control and mindful eating are also key for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  2. I love the plate picture! It’s so much easier to understand and implement than the food pyramid they were advocating for back in the 1990s. I’m not always good at building a healthy plate, but at least the guidelines are clear.

  3. You made this healthy plate look so simple… breaking down the process in an easy to understand method.
    Another wonderful and insightful share, Devang 🙏🤍

  4. Dear Devang, I’ve just published a post that I think will surprise you very much. I wanted to be honest with you and say that I’ve been struggling with this condition for about two months or, perhaps two-and-a-half. That’s why I haven’t left any comments on your recent blogs – I didn’t want to be dishonest and say I was eating healthily, as you always advised when I wasn’t. Therefore, I had to make the decision to not comment at all, although I always read your posts. I hope you understand where I’m coming from and forgive me for not explaining my situation before. I just couldn’t do that at the time as I only found the courage to write about my issue tonight – it was incredibly hard to do, too. Hope you are well. X

  5. 50 percent of food in the States goes to waste. It’s a disturbingly high number, composting is a good solution but it’s not very popular still. Consumerism does no good to us, mindfulness is a great alternative. Wasting valuable resources should be addressed by educating people on how to be more mindful and less wasteful

  6. Really great post, and I love what you mentioned about trying to be more environmentally and socially friendly with our food choices. Starvation is a serious issue these days and it’s not because we don’t have enough food to feed the hungry but rather because we choose to throw away access food rather than give it to the needy.
    I also found the health part of the post interesting. I think I eat relatively healthy but I need to add more calories to my meals.

    • Well yes

      People just throw away food, while I see a lot of helpless people, who I’m not sure eat proper meal.

      Also, yes when we eat exotic food, we put stress on environment. People don’t know it, but this is real meaning of “support local”.

      Nowadays, I see a lot of avocados, brocolli in market, but those food are expensive and putting stress, because those took a lot of energy to reach here.

      • Yes, eating what’s grown locally is good for the people and for the environment too. However, the biggest cause of damage to the environment is the amount of food/grain grown to feed livestock which are slaughtered for human consumption. So a great way to help the environment is to eat more plant based foods.

      • It’s a Korean staple dish that’s almost served with everything! For someone new to kimchee, the flavor may be strong and spicy; lots of chili pepper, garlic, and fish sauce. I can’t make it like my mom; it’s like a learned skill that takes time to develop. I tried making it this summer, a different kind of root kimchee, and it was too spicy and salty. It’s an art, and I’m a total noob!!
        Do you know Pooja likes Korean food?

      • Yes, it requires special ingredients. Instead of making it, it would be much easier and tastier to buy it premade, unless you like to try new and complex recipes. 😉 Me…no way. All that work and the flavors didn’t soak into the vegetables.
        Let me know if you try making or or get it premade. Yes, I was surprised to see that she likes and makes Korean food for herself. Pretty cool! Maangchi is a helpful and fun Korean food Youtuber who makes videos of her cooking with various kinds of dishes. Check her out when you get a chance!

      • Please give an example of the vegetable, fruit, protein, and grains you would eat for the three meals of one day; meal 1 – example menu. 1/2 as a plate portion is too abstract for me to comprehend without an example. How many vegetables is that?

      • So basically this particular idea don’t give the picture of how many of what.

        Like It’s not necessary to take only 3 meals a day.
        Like I take 5 meals a day, according to my need.

        When I say vegetables. You can use required amount of veggies in your diet.
        Our main aim is to use colorful veggies, like red, yellow, white and mainly green.

        Fruits, let’s aim for 3 fruits a day. Serving you will decide. Again our aim is to get more nutrient for various colors.

        In whole grains like you can focus on wheat, millets, rice, etc.
        That can come with your food that you are eating.

        Protein requirement is different for different people.
        Like take your weight in kg and multiply it with 0.8, that’s how much protein you’ll be needing in grams on a single day.

        Majorly, when I say half your plate, that means
        half of the calories should come from fruits and veggies (combined), 1/4 from the whole grains and 1/4 from protein.

        For instance
        you take 2000 k/cal a day, than 1000 should come from fruits and veggies combined.
        Now there is no limit of how many vegetables you can have in a day.

        500 k/cal of whole grains, which will include carbs , etc
        and approx 500 k/cal from protein.

        now the limitation of this method is, food like legumes, and others are not included.

        Fat is not included in the plate. For example, if you use cooking oil (fat), then that have some calories and that will be counted.

  7. Fantastic advice that can fit any particular diet and/or lifestyle! One thing I do is set my lunches up for the week. This helps save time in the morning getting ready for work and helps me avoid unhealthier quick choices when I’m short on time. What’s faster than grabbing a meal out of the fridge on your way out the door? One device that has helped me eat much healthier at work is a mini Hot Logic. It’s basically an insulated lunch bag with a hot plate in the bottom. I can throw in a frozen, homemade meal and have it cooked and ready by the time lunch rolls around.

    On workdays, when I make breakfast in the morning, I also have my lunch box packed and supper in my hot logic that will be ready to eat when I get home. It helps me know exactly what I’m eating and takes the stress of trying to find and prepare something after a long day away.

      • I’m doing quite well, D!
        I hope you are as well!
        I’ve been using this method for years, and it never gets boring because I can change it up all the time 🙂
        Have a wonderful week!

  8. These are very good and specific guidelines. From the introduction, I felt it would be too technical but you simplified it so nicely. Afterall, every article should be based on easy communication for the reader instead of only displaying expert knowledge about the subject. This article is a perfect combination of both and deliciously readable. Thanks for sharing this valuable post, DU.

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