This post is a sneak peek at Step 2 of my “7 Steps to Better Health” (what I did to be cured of 4 different ailments). I’m sharing this particular step with you because it was a great help for simplifying healthy portions goals.
When I first started studying portion goals, there was a great deal of conflicting information out there. And most of the plans included counting the grams of each food group I consume throughout the day. Who wants to do that much math? That’s why I love this plate diagram. It gives me a great visual for eating a healthy balance of the 4 major food groups.
What I really found interesting in my studies is how the 4 food groups are classified. Each food group should be determined not only by their macro-nutrients, but also by their micro-nutrients:
1. Macro-nutrients: The large volume of nutrients contained in, or that make up a particular kind of food. These nutrients supply the body with calories needed for energy and to help the body function. The 4 basic food groups: water, carbohydrates, protein and fats are classified according to their macro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients are measured in grams.
2. Micro-nutrients: The smaller nutrients in food which are just as crucial as the macro-nutrients and are needed for development, growth and maintaining a healthy immune system. They are usually counted in milligrams and include vitamins, minerals, and phyto(plant)nutrients which act as antioxidants and antiinflammatories.
Making sure I get enough grams of macro-nutrients is not an adequate measure of what I should eat. I must also aim for getting enough milligrams of micro-nutrients. Counting all of that could be quite daunting! But the plate in this post is a good first step toward making sure I get enough of each.
For now, let’s begin with the thinking process I use to measure what I should eat throughout the day. Here’s what I do: when I am making food choices for a meal I picture the plate diagram in my mind and aim to include each food group in the portions shown (I’m a visual learner. Can you tell?).
But I take it a step further. I also make sure that there are a variety of colors in the fruit and vegetable choices on my plate. The color of fruit and vegetables is a good indication of the micro-nutrients contained in foods like vegetables and fruit. Following this visual assists me in making sure that I am consuming both the macro-nutrients and the micro-nutrients my body needs.
If I miss a certain food group, or food color, during a particular meal, I make up for it in a snack or during the next meal. And when I think back over my intake for the entire day, if I didn’t get enough of a certain food group (such as vegetables) I eat a carrot, sweet pepper, or some celery for an evening snack. This is certainly much easier than counting the grams of the 4 food groups and the milligrams of each vitamin and mineral.
Hint: When I examine the amount of vegetables I’m consuming at a meal, I take into account that my salad would be included in the total vegetable portion.
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Source: Health Coach Ali’s Portion Plate
If you decide to adopt these portion goals, please let me know by leaving a comment. And if you have another plan for meeting portion goals, I would love to hear about it!