Mar 11, 2021 2:15 PM

Author: Corey Rowley, RD


HEALTHY EATING:

A DIETITIAN’S GUIDE TO A BALANCED PLATE

The balanced plate provides a visual framework for the types of foods you should aim to include in your diet each day. These foods are high in heart-healthy fibers, lean proteins, and a variety of vitamins and minerals while low in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars to keep you feeling great and maintaining a healthy weight long-term. The best part about this plate? You get to choose which foods you want to eat from each category, and there are endless combinations.

 

These categories include:

 

Fruits and Vegetables

  • FILL ½ OF YOUR PLATE
  • EAT THE RAINBOW. Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of bright colors - the greater the variety of colors on your plate, the wider the array of vitamins and minerals you get.
  • FRESH, FROZEN, DRIED, OR CANNED? All can be part of a healthy diet! Just keep an eye out for added sugars and sodium listed on the nutrition label.
  • HOW MUCH?
    • 3+ SERVINGS OF VEGGIES PER DAY. One serving = one cup
    • 2 SERVINGS OF FRUIT PER DAY. One serving = one cup

Grains and Starches

  • FILL ¼ OF YOUR PLATE
  • GO WHOLE. Whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, and whole wheat products contain more protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than refined grains to reduce your risk of heart and bowel diseases and better manage your weight.
  • WHAT ABOUT STARCHES? Starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn can all be part of a healthy diet! Just keep an eye on portion size and avoid eating them fried.
  • HOW MUCH?
    • 6-8 SERVINGS PER DAY.
    • 1 serving = 1 oz. slice bread; 1 cup dry cereal; ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes, peas, corn

PROTEIN

  • FILL ¼ OF YOUR PLATE
  • THINK LEAN to grow strong! Protein keeps your skin, muscles, and bones healthy, but choosing lower fat options like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products will also help keep your heart healthy.
  • DON’T FORGET PLANT POWERHOUSES. Plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, edamame, tofu, nuts, seeds, and nut butters provide the added benefit of fiber, so be sure to give these a try as well!
  • HOW MUCH?
    • 5-6 OUNCES PER DAY.
    • 1 oz. = 1 oz. cooked meats; 1 egg; ¼ cup beans; 1 tbsp. nut butter; ½ oz. nuts or seeds
Healthy Eating Plate
Healthy Eating Plate

REGISTERED DIETITIAN APPROVED MEALS

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative with your recipes and don’t be afraid to try new flavors. Check out the dietitian approved recipes below for some inspiration - both dishes are low in added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats while high in fiber, flavor, and protein!

MAPLE GLAZED SALMON WITH SWEET POTATOES & BRUSSEL SPROUTS

With a hint of sweetness from the maple-balsamic glaze and the cozy comfort of warm mashed potatoes, you’ll be surprised how good a healthy meal can taste. This dish checks all the balanced plate boxes, including high-protein and heart healthy salmon, starchy sweet potatoes, and a serving of crispy brussels sprouts.

maple-balsamic-salmon

Serves 4

MAPLE-BALSAMIC SALMON

4 salmon filets (4oz)

4 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. + 1 tsp maple syrup

½ cup + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

12 oz. bag Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp salt

MASHED SWEET POTATOES

1 lb. sweet potatoes (3 medium or 2 large)

¼ cup 2% milk

1 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp salt

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Steam brussel sprouts in bag as directed and set aside.
  2. While oven is preheating, steam sweet potatoes for 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you do not have a steamer, you can cook them in a pot with just enough water to cover them for 25 minutes or until softened.
  3. While oven is preheating and potatoes are steaming, combine maple syrup and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over low to medium heat. Simmer until liquid has reduced by about ¼ - ½ and the mixture can coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.
  4. Once the oven has heated, toss brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes.
  5. While the brussel sprouts bake, remove salmon filets and pat dry with paper towel. Coat a frying pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the salmon filets and cook undisturbed 5 minutes, or until golden brown crust forms. Flip salmon filets and cook for another 5 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Combine milk and butter in large saucepan. Heat over low to medium heat until butter has melted. Remove from heat and add sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth.
  7. Place each salmon filet on a plate. Scoop out one cup of brussel sprouts and one cup of mashed potatoes onto the plate. Drizzle salmon with ½ oz. of maple-balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

GARDEN VEGETABLE PASTA

With its variety of vegetables, touch of Italian herbs, and dash of white wine, this dish is bursting with summer-time flavor. It’s also a great stand-in for those Meatless Mondays: throw in some chickpeas or black beans and sprinkle with mozzarella or parmesan cheese for an added protein boost while keeping it plant-based. Low in sodium, sugar, and saturated fats while high in fiber and flavor, I’m confident you’ll be satisfied - even without the meat!

garden-vegetable-pasta

Serves 4-6

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

16 oz. penne pasta, whole wheat

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

½ cup canned artichoke, drained

½ cup canned roasted tomatoes, drained

½ cup sliced mushroom (button, portobello, or cremini)

½ sugar snap peas

1 cup broccoli florets

¼ cup + 3 tbsp. Chablis wine, or dry white wine of choice

2 tbsp. + ½ tsp Italian herb seasoning

½ tsp crushed red pepper

¼ cup + 3 tbsp. reduced sodium vegetable broth

2 ¾ tsp lemon juice

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. In large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, bell pepper, artichokes, tomatoes, mushroom, snap peas, and broccoli for about 6 minutes or until vegetables begin softening.
  3. Add white wine and simmer over low to medium heat until liquid has reduced to half.
  4. Add vegetable broth, lemon juice, Italian herb seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and let simmer for additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Once vegetable mixture has cooled, add pasta to stock pot and toss to combine. Spoon 1 ¼ cup into a bowl and enjoy!

nutrition wellness rd approved national nutrition month balanced plates

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