Balanced Meal- Balanced Plate

by Michelle on April 17, 2018

Balanced Meal- Balanced Plate… What do these terms really mean?  Are they the same or do they represent different things?  Hopefully, We can clear up some misconceptions about these terms and aid you in eating better with the explanations.

First…Balanced Meals.  This term is thrown around all the time to explain how to eat healthy, whether, on a weight loss plan or a dietary requirement, balanced meals are important.  A balanced meal is one that includes one food from each food group…dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. Dairy is probably the category most often omitted mid-day and evening while vegetables don’t always make it into the morning meal.  In fact, vegetables are probably left out of many people’s diet simply because they don’t like them. The reason a balanced meal is so important is that each food group contains essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep your body properly nourished, healthy, and functioning properly.

Here’s an example of a day of balanced meals…utilizing the five food groups:

The one thing that’s a variable is fat…butter, oil, etc…it can be used in moderation but be careful to keep close track of it for a better health choice.

The Balanced Plate or “Plate Method” of healthy eating is similar to having a balanced meal except it’s more of a visual that you can use to properly portion out your meal.  This method says to fill ½ of the plate with 2 servings of non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate with lean protein (about 3 ounces cooked) or another high-protein food, fill ¼ of the plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain serving.  Dairy and fruits are in minimal amounts. This method allows for more of a specific breakdown of portions yet still allows you to choose what fills those portions. Here’s a typical “Plate Method” for reference:

Regardless of which plan speaks to you, the main focus is being aware of the foods you’re eating and the portion sizes.  It’s easy to eat too much and not properly arrange meals to incorporate all of the food groups, but hopefully, this makes it a bit easier to treat your body to a healthy meal.

 

Michelle

Michelle

Michelle

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