I’ve always believed that keeping nutrition simple makes eating well adaptable and easy. We form healthy habits with practice, routine and patterns so I’ve made the real food plate very simple. Just a few guidelines allows creativity, flexibility, and adaptability in almost any eating situation. The Real Food Plate is made up of 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% of protein, and the other 25% is split between healthy fats and starchy carbohydrate foods. This is a simple way to build a meal, fill your plate, or select foods from a menu and still know that you’re eating well.
In case you’re asking…
What are non-starchy vegetables? Think of asparagus, salad, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, onions, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage. And protein? Think of whole eggs, chicken, beef, pork, seafood, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. What are your healthy fats? These include avocado, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, nut butters, and coconut oil. And lastly, starchy carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, grains and breads, beets. corn, peas, and winter squashes.
Again, in the art of keeping things simple, we just plug in foods from each category into our meal and a real food plate is designed perfectly! If you’re curious as to what this looks like in the real world, here are a few examples:
1. Large romaine salad with 1 grilled chicken breast, 1/2 sliced avocado, and 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans
2. Grilled fish with broccoli and cauliflower, 1 small sweet potato with butter
3. Filet mignon with grilled asparagus and 1/3 cup quinoa
4. Baked chicken, roasted brussels sprouts with garlic, and 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato with butter
Do you see the pattern? Vegetable, protein, fat, and starch. As you continue to discover what a real food lifestyle is, you’ll learn more about each group of food and how they fit into the pattern.