How to Build a Healthier Plate

Although there are dozens — if not hundreds — of diets on the market that claim you need various expensive powders, pills, or supplements to lose weight and be healthy, it’s actually much simpler than that. Most people can find success in eating healthier just by tweaking the way you build your plate at each meal, starting with these four components. 

1. Non-Starchy Vegetables

Whether you’re keto or paleo, vegan or omnivore, there’s one aspect of eating that everyone agrees on — and that’s non-starchy vegetables. This food group, which contains veggies like asparagus, leafy greens, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers, is universally recognized as healthy and nutritious. To make the most out of each meal, aim for filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. 

2. Fiber-Rich Carbohydrates

Next, about one-quarter of your plate should include healthy carbohydrates that are high in fiber. Although non-starchy vegetables do contain some carbs, they are minimal. Healthy, fiber-rich carbs to add to this part of your plate include starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes), beans, lentils, whole grains, and fruit. 

3. Lean Protein 

Fill the last empty quarter of your plate with lean proteins, which could be plant- or animal-based. Protein is a highly satiating macronutrient, so it’s important to get protein-rich foods at each meal. Try adding chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, shrimp, tofu, tempeh, or beans. 

4. Healthy Fats 

If you’re keeping track of the math, you may realize that we’re out of room on the plate! While healthy fats don’t get a designated quarter or half of the plate, they can be considered an “extra” on top. Aim for about 100 to 200 calories of healthy fat per meal, which could look like one or two tablespoons of olive oil-rich dressing on your salad, half of an avocado, or a couple of tablespoons of nuts or seeds.

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