Build a healthy meal with best plate practices

Portion a healthy meal: Keep serving sizes in check at all times and you really can enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining weight.

Portioning a healthy meal is important, even with the holiday season here. There is one mantra for healthy eating and portion control - All things in moderation. Michigan State University Extension advises to keep serving sizes in check at all times, so you can enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining weight.

When eating at many restaurants, it’s hard to miss that portion sizes have gotten larger in the last few years. We know that this trend has also spilled over into the grocery store and vending machines, for example, an "individual" bag of chips can easily feed more than one. Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions. This can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating high calorie foods. Here are some tips to help you avoid some common portion mistakes.

Check Your Plate Size

How many calories can you save by switching from a dinner plate to a salad plate? About half! To test this, you can use diced bread to gauge the plate size, portion size and calorie outcome for three different plates. Here is a handy guide:

 

Best Plate Practices

If you put three cups of salad on a dinner plate you would end up with two servings of vegetables. Putting the entree on the salad plate would yield a dinner for around 350-400 calories. This is a great way to have more food for fewer calories. Use a salad plate for buffets and parties to help you eat less. The next time you order food from a food establishment, take it home and serve it on your own plates. You will eat less than if you are just eating out of the package. Use a salad plate for portion control with chips and snacks, keep in mind that one small layer is one ounce.

Build a healthy plate – use ChooseMyPlate.gov to learn how half your plate should be fruits and vegetables with one-quarter protein and one-quarter whole grains and dairy.

Keep in mind that MyPlate is designed not to limit what you eat, but to help you make good choices. There are a lot of options for each category on the plate and it’s up to you to decide what works for you and your family.

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