How to build a healthier plate


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Apr 29, 2021

As much as we wish we could, we can’t change our genes. We can’t change what diseases could be hereditary or the conditions we may be more prone to develop. But there is hope for all of us—because we can change what we eat

What you decide to eat every day plays a major role in determining your risk for developing a variety of illnesses and combatting any hereditary conditions. Eating smart can also help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your energy and mood, and reduce your risk for osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other chronic health conditions.

That means you have power over your health! Here’s how to make your food choices count.

What we choose to eat matters

Eating smarter doesn’t have to be harder. Learn to help your body maintain a healthy weight, have increased energy and fight back against pesky hereditary conditions by eating foods in moderation and choosing more balanced meals instead of opting for the latest diet fad.

In eating smarter, always remember the “3 P’s for Success.”

1.  plan

Pre-planning your meals will help you avoid the temptation of grabbing that muffin on your morning commute. It’s easier to plan meals by making them in advance. After your weekly grocery store visit, find the time during the week to cook what you purchased and prepare it for different meals for the remainder of the week.

Planning ahead can help you decide what and when to eat, making eating cleaner much more effortless.

2. Pre-plate

How many times have you grabbed that bag of chips and eaten until it’s half-empty? Whether it’s a snack or meal, literally putting your food in a bowl or plate before you eat it forces you to see the portion as the meal.

It’s best to shut out distractions while eating too! Noises from the TV or tasks to do can leave you mindlessly eating without realizing how much you’ve eaten. Take a second, slow down and savor the flavor of your food.

3. Portion control

Despite eating healthier foods and making wiser choices, overeating is still very possible. Practice portion control by following the first two “P’s” and planning what you’ll eat, how much you’ll prepare, and then setting it on a plate for serving. Making portion-sized plates instead of scooping from a larger batch helps control your portions as well.

  • Ditch the fast food and enjoy lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish and other high-quality protein sources. These should take up at least 1/4 of your plate.
  • Choose whole-grain foods such as brown rice, pasta, potatoes or corn. Make sure your portion doesn’t exceed 1/4 of your plate.
  • Load the rest of your plate with beautiful shades of greens, reds and oranges from vegetables.

The power of your plate

When you eat smart, you build a foundation for a healthier life. For more tips on creating a healthy plate that promotes health and reduces your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, read the American Cancer Society’s healthy eating tips.

If you’re looking for support on your journey to better health, find a registered dietitian near you.

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