The Healthy Plate: A Portion Control Guide
Remember the food pyramid? Carbs were supposed to be the founding blocks of nutrition, followed by protein and fat. One needed to get 6-12 servings of grains (yikes!), followed by 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-5 servings of dairy and protein daily.
Well, that’s old hat now. For one, researchers revised the pyramid to include more vegetables and fruits. For example, the Australian dietary recommendations of 2013 (left) say vegetables and fruit are the foundation of the pyramid, followed by whole grains in much smaller proportions. Above that, dairy, and finally, good fats. Sugar and salt should be completely avoided. Water and activity must be included in copious amounts.
But, maybe, that’s not the end of the story. As a rule of thumb, the food pyramid isn’t very practical. Researchers then substituted the pyramid with a plate. The Healthy Plate heuristic now uses sections of a dinner plate to help people understand portion size and make the right decisions at every meal.
For example, the Healthy Plate guidelines from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health recommend:
- half your plate be filled with colourful vegetables (no, not potatoes)
- a quarter of your plate be filled with whole grains (not rice, not refined pasta or white bread)
- a quarter of your plate be for proteins such as lean meats, fish, nuts and beans
- healthy oils be in moderation
- water, coffee or tea – no sugary drinks
- daily activity
Isn’t that a more sensible way to manage your food?
- jyotsna pattabiraman