By Kristen Hicks-Roof PhD, RDN, LDN and Marissa Schwam BS
Wanting to obtain a healthy lifestyle has become quite popular over the last decades; however, there is a lot of misleading information that people have been utilizing in order to obtain their goal of becoming healthier. There are countless “fad diets” that promise quick fixes, rapid weight loss, and even detoxification. The truth is, obtaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you need to restrict food groups or starve yourself to lose weight. It’s all about how you build your plate. Every plate we make is a building block for a healthier lifestyle, so it is important that we include all food groups as a part of our meals and snacks. Here are some easy steps to help you build your plate and obtain the goal of a healthier you.
1. Aim to make half of your plate full of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients that support healthy functioning of your brain, cells, skin, and everything in between. Try to include all different colors such as orange, red, purple, white and green.
2. Don’t forget whole grains. Try to make at least half of your grains whole. Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins and natural fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol and helps keep you regular. Try some ancient whole grains including barley, bulgur, quinoa, sorghum, or wild rice.
3. Protein should take up the last quarter of your plate. Choosing lean or plant proteins will help you reduce your intake of saturated fat, which has been shown to increase your risk for heart disease and strokes. Lean or plant proteins include chicken, turkey, nuts, beans, tofu, and even some cuts of beef such as flank or strip steak.
4. Switch it up by trying to add in some “new” foods to your regular routine. Keep mealtime fun by picking out foods you or your family have never tried before like chia seeds, lentils, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or edamame.
5. Don’t ignore your cravings. If you have a sweet tooth, you can always satisfy this craving in a healthy way. You can always do fresh fruit parfait with whipped topping, yogurt or some mini white chocolate morsels. If you like hot desserts, then you can try baking apples or peaches.