In honor of National Nutrition Month, let me fill you in on two simple tips to help boost the nutritional value of every meal you eat. Start by looking at your plate. What do you see?
Tip #1: Is it bursting with color? If it is, it’s bursting with nutrients! Does it boast color variety? If it does, it’s boasting nutrient variety! And the brighter the colors…you guessed it…the more nutrients present!
Tip #2: Is it divided into four different foods of equal portion? By dividing your plate into four equal food portions, you get the proper amount, proper food balance and proper calories in return.
Now combine these two tips and you’re on your way to better health.
Remember this example:
Choose a fist-sized portion of a green vegetable, a fist-sized portion of a red/orange vegetable, a fist-sized portion of a healthy starch (potato, brown rice, pasta, or wholegrain), and a palm-sized portion of protein. These portions represent about 1 cup of everything; and a 3-4 oz piece of protein. Now you have a perfectly balanced, healthy meal…rich in nutrients and fiber, and low in calories…all for under 600 calories!
Try these delicious meal ideas:
- 3-4 oz chicken breast, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup brown rice
- 3-4 oz lean beef tenderloin, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup yellow squash, one small sweet potato
- 2 cups of salad consisting of dark lettuce greens, tomato, red bell pepper, red onion slices, mushrooms, celery, radishes, and cucumber slices and carrots, topped with 3 thin slices of fajita meat or a chicken breast and dressed with a touch of salsa or vinaigrette
- 2 cups of mixed vegetables, such as broccoli, snow peas, cabbage, carrots, onions and mushrooms, stir-fried with 3-4 oz of scallops, shrimp, lean meat or poultry, and served over 1 cup of brown rice
Need more ideas for building a healthy plate bursting with color and in appropriate proportions? See my book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution (2009). Quick meal Ideas in my book are just 400-500 calories!
Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself: are there four colors or more? Are there four different foods of equal portion? If yes, enjoy! You are treating yourself to better health and easier weight control. If no, simply add a splash of grape tomatoes, radishes, baby carrots, or a bright salad to your plate. Check out Part 2 of my National Nutrition Month blog series: Color Your Plate like an Artist’s Palette.
For more healthy plate ideas, or to order a copy of my book, visit www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.