Photo Credit: WebMD
As I have mentioned before, I use a few tools when counseling my clients, and calorie counting is not one of them. I am not saying that it is wrong to count calories, as I do not believe that there is one right way to do anything, but it is just not what I believe in and what I find to be realistic. One of the best things that I recommend we use to eat a healthy diet is awareness & mindfulness. Just take a look at your plate, and see what kind of colors are on there. Is it brown & tan? Or is it full of bright oranges, greens, and reds? If we find that balance by including more colors, that will help us stay on the right track as far as diet. So, what should our plate look like? Here is an example:
I prefer this method because it focuses on fruits, veggies, healthy protein, whole grains, water, and oils/fats. If you look at the plate from the USDA @ www.choosemyplate.gov they emphasize dairy, not water. Also, there is not a section for healthy fats, which should be included in a healthy diet as fat fills you up and keeps you fuller much longer- it has that satiety factor and I truly believe that fat belongs in our diet.
So, what is the takeaway? Make half your plate fruits and veggies, emphasizing the vegetables. Regardless of what meal you are eating, half your plate/meal should focus on fruits and vegetables. If you are not quite there, that is ok. Slowly bringing them into your diet at your pace is the best option. I cannot stress this enough, though, as the majority of our diet should be plant-based, regardless of where we are. Whether we are eating at home, out to lunch, or at a party, just take those few seconds to look at your plate, and if there is not a lot of color, add some greens, veggies, or a salad to find that balance. Not only are fruits and veggies packed with antioxidants that support the immune system, they are low in calories and high in fiber, so they fill you up. So whether you are looking to lose weight, or gain a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your goal, fruits and veggies should play a part. So what exactly does this look like in real life? Check out the plate below to give you an idea:
Slowly adding fruits and veggies into your diet is key. Start with adding one fruit or veggie at each meal, then add one fruit or veggie at each snack. Slowly move on to two fruits and/or veggies at each meal, and one fruit or veggie at each snack. Without counting calories, this will help you in the right direction of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle without having to track every single morsel you eat. I will go into more detail regarding the overall benefits of a plant-based diets in an upcoming post.
Photo Credit: WebMD
Heidi M. Williams, MPH, RDN, LD, NSCA-CPT
Founder of Real Nutrition & Fitness, LLC // Registered Dietitian Nutritionist // Certified Personal Trainer // Boot Camp Instructor // Ultra Runner // Cyclist // World Traveler