How To Eat: The Cheat Sheet

The easy way to remember what to eat:food plateI have MANY patients who tell me that they don’t know how or what to eat. They end up eating what’s convenient or handy or psychologically satisfying because they don’t have a game plan to eat nutritionally well.  They say the concepts of portion sizes and ratios of carbohydrates to proteins to fats are like trying to decipher a foreign language.  Well, worry no more! The above picture is a handy memory tool for a great, basic, nutritionally balanced eating strategy.

You start off with whatever size plate you usually use for eating (i.e. a dinner or salad sized plate). This doesn’t mean that from now on you can only eat your food from a plate but you can use the plate concept when figuring out portion sizes. This “formula” takes care of the ratios of fats to carbs to proteins. You’ll notice that you first divide the plate in half. Half of the plate should be filled with vegetables and the more colors of veggies you have, the better the meal. The other half of the plate is divided in half again. One quarter is filled with a deck-of-cards sized piece of protein. It doesn’t matter whether the protein is from an animal (like fish or chicken) or a plant source (like soy). The last quarter can hold an ice-cream-scoop sized amount of a starch such as rice, pasta or bread.

And that’s pretty much it. What this strategy doesn’t do is take into account any special dietary needs an individual might have. For example, someone with Crohn’s disease would have to make adjustments to their vegetable intake. Someone with blood sugar issues would have to be careful with the amount of starches they ate. If you wanted to lose weight you also might have to make adjustments to the starches. It’s always crucial to consider your unique constitution when choosing your meals so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office.

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