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The balanced plate…

March 23, 2009

My goodness it is WINDY!!!! I think Boston is the windiest city ever and I have lived in Burlington, VT(nestled in the mountains and off the lake= wind) and the Windy city itself, Chicago(OK technically Evanston, but that’s only like 10 minutes away and still right on the lake)*

* my 17 year old self would like to remind my 22 year old self of the time when she was smacked(hard) in the face with wet leaves while walking to class in Evanston during a windstorm but my 22 year old self says I am cold now and almost got blown over, so Boston it is*

Ok, enough of the conversations I have in my head while I recover from my long crutch to FedEx to mail my love, Amy, her forgotten phone charger, and on to……THE BALANCED PLATE!


We can all pause for a minute to laugh at the fact that my Paint skills are that of a 5 year old but my mouse was being super-difficult and I suck at art! That being said, the above meal is some grilled salmon, broccoli, side salad with tomatoes and cukes, and a baked potato with a dab of buttah (in case you couldn’t tell from the pic itself!)

Now, I doubt most of America eats like this but the gist is you divide your plate in half, and then divide one half again.

The big half gets filled with non-starchy veggies: broccoli, zucchini, lettuce, kale, spinach, peppers, tomatoes(technically a fruit I know I know), onions, carrots, celery etc. etc. A serving would be 1 cup raw veggies or 1/2 cup cooked, on average.  Your goal is for at least 2!

One 1/4 of the plate is for PROTEIN(preferably lean): skinless chicken, lean ground meat or ground turkey/chicken, fish, tofu, tempeh, low fat cheese, eggs/egg whites.  A typical serving is 3-4 oz, which is about the size of the deck of cards.

the other 1/4 is your starch(preferably WHOLE GRAIN): brown rice, couscous, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, sweet potato, bread corn and peas and winter squash also fall in this category.  A serving of these foods is 1/3 cup rice or pasta, 1 piece bread, 1/2 cup peas/corn or a medium potato(about the size of a small fist).  These portions sound really small(because they are compared to typical serving sizes) but most Americans need at least 2-4 servings of grains per meal so if you have 1 cup of pasta(3 servings) that is your grain portion.

Sidenote: my plates don’t normally look like this because I always mix everything together.  For example, taking some frozen stir-fry veggies and tofu and putting them over brown rice is much more up my alley, but the goal is to have lots of fiber rich veggies to fill you up and give you your vitamin boost with little calories(volume eating), having protein to also keep you full and get those muscles going, and then having carbs for energy and because who doesn’t love them!?!?!?!?

The typical American plate is

a) usually MUCH bigger

b) usually lacking in veggies!!(french fries do NOT count as a vegetable people! in case you missed it, that is America’s number 1 consumed vegetable)

Breakfast is usually different and I can blog all about healthy breakfasts at some other point(we spend A LOT of time in this internship talking about healthy, protein rich breakfasts!!) but that is for another time….

NOW it is time for me to try and doctor up my sad mac and cheese with some chickpeas, onions, carrots and spices!! I don’t know if that will do the trick, but I gotta try something!(plus I will be adding some protein and veggies to an otherwise starchy meal just like the balanced plate says!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. barbara permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:43 pm

    love the drawing 🙂
    and also agree with boston being so windy… remember last year when we were up there for easter and we went to the aquarium? i thought for sure katie was going to blow away at one point!!!
    keep on blogging… i am learning alot 🙂

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