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The perfect tool to enjoy the taste of eating right

Posted February 19, 2014 in Advice Column, Downtown

Are you looking for an easy solution to help you eat right but still enjoy the foods you love? In March we celebrate National Nutrition Month: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. Eating right and enjoying it are some things that most dietitians would agree are some of the best things you can do to improve your health. I recommend using a tool you already use every time you eat — your plate — and changing how you fill that plate. Using your plate as a guide can help you eat the right foods and right amount of foods for better health.

The concept was developed by dietitians to give a visual aid to help people with portion control. It’s called the plate method or MyPlate. The process is simple: first fill your plate (or bowl) half full of vegetables and fruit. This helps control calories by your eating the right foods in the correct proportions.

Why does the plate rule work?  It simply helps a person eat fewer calories by limiting the portions of high-calorie, high-fat foods and increasing the amount of fiber. It also works because it still allows a person to eat the foods he or she enjoys, just not to overdo it. Possible health benefits when the plate is half full of veggies and fruit include weight loss, maintenance of weight loss, better blood glucose control, improvement of blood lipids such as cholesterol and improvement of overall health.

Use the idea every time you eat — whether it’s breakfast, eating out, a snack or dessert or going back for a second helping. Visualize the plate or bowl and fill it half full of a fruit and/or vegetable. To illustrate the point, let’s look at pepperoni pizza. Rather than filling a whole plate with two slices of pizza, fill half the plate with a leafy green salad or baby carrots and grapes, and the other half with one slice of pizza. The result is a savings of around 500 calories.

Steps for MyPlate Rule:
Use a 9-inch (no bigger) dinner plate for a meal.
Visually divide the plate or bowl in half.
Fill half the plate with veggies and/or fruit.
Fill one-quarter of the plate with lean meat or protein.
Fill one-quarter of the plate with grains, including whole grains as much as possible.
Add one serving of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Information provided by Anne Cundiff, RD, LD, Fleur Drive Hy-Vee, 4605 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, 515.285.7266,

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