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How to create a Balanced Plate



There is a lot of confusion around what constitutes a ‘healthy’ meal. In a world full of diet trends it's little wonder that we get lost in the noise.


If you are looking for a simple way to maintain long-term healthy eating, look no further!


The power of food is very real, and while some diets are beneficial for certain conditions or stages of life, these are designed as tools to support that specific scenario. For many people, definitive diets simply aren't necessary.


Rather, when directing clients on food choices, I look to quality, freshness, and local produce as much as possible. And very often I use the term ‘balanced plate’.


A ‘balanced plate’ is my tribute to long term healthy eating, and it refers to the fact that all macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats, form part of a healthy diet. This concept enables an easy way to ensure you are getting all of the macronutrients required at each meal. A no-fuss approach to healthy eating, for life.


A Balanced Plate - The Basics

  • Begin with half a plate of low starch vegetables: include foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and cabbage.

  • Add a palm size of protein: include meat, poultry or fish/seafood.

  • Add ½ - ¾ cup of whole carbohydrates or starchy vegetables: include rice (brown, basmati, black, red, wild), quinoa, buckwheat, potato, sweet potato, beetroot and other root vegetables.

  • Complete the meal with fats: add 2 tablespoons of healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, full fat cheese/goats cheese, or nuts and seeds/hemp seeds.


A Balanced Plate - Vegetarian Version

  • Begin with half a plate of low starch vegetables: include foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and cabbage.

  • Add a full handful or cup of protein: Incorporate different plant proteins that make up around a cup, such as lentils, chickpeas, split peas, edamame and kidney beans.

  • Add ½ - ¾ cup of whole carbohydrates or starchy vegetables: include rice (brown, basmati, black, red, wild), quinoa, buckwheat, potato, sweet potato, beetroot and other root vegetables.

  • Complete the meal with fats: add 2-3 tablespoons of healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, full fat cheese, or nuts and seeds/hemp seeds.

  • Special note on proteins: Legumes, wholegrains, and nuts & seeds all contain a variety of amino acids required to make complete proteins. Ensuring you incorporate a variety of these three food groups in your daily diet will help to boost your protein profile.


Remembering with your hands:

  • 2-3 fist size of low starch veg

  • palm size of protein, OR a full handful of vegetarian protein

  • ½ -1 palm size of whole carbohydrate

  • 2-3 finger size of fats


Remembering with metric measures:

  • 2-3 cups of low starch veg

  • 120g of meat/poultry or 150g fish (raw weights), OR 1 cup of vegetarian protein

  • ½ - ¾ cup whole carbohydrate

  • 2-3 tablespoons of fats


Key Terms:

  • Macronutrients: refer to protein, carbohydrates & fats. These are the nutrients that the body needs in large amounts, and they provide the body with energy.

  • Animal Protein: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy.

  • Vegetarian Protein: legumes & beans (lentils, chickpeas, split peas, edamame and kidney beans), peas, tofu, tempeh, and quinoa.

  • Low starch vegetables: include artichokes, asparagus, bean sprouts, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant (also known as aubergine), mushrooms, onions, salad greens, spinach, tomato, turnips, and zucchini.

  • Starchy vegetables: are higher in carbohydrate content. They include beans (kidney, navy, pinto, black, cannellini), lentils, chickpeas, peas, butternut pumpkin, corn, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

  • Whole carbohydrates: rice (brown, basmati, black, red, wild), quinoa, buckwheat, spelt, and oats.

  • Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, hemp seed oil, cheese/goats cheese, nuts and seeds (chia, hemp, flax, pepita, and sesame).

  • Starch: is the main type of carbohydrate in your diet. It’s often referred to as a complex carb, as it is made up of a number of joined sugar molecules. Starch can be found in a range of foods, including breads, cereals, noodles, pasta, as well as starchy vegetables. However, most vegetables contain only small amounts of starch and are classified as non-starchy types.

  • Complete proteins: contain the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot make on its own.


Now you have the tools to make your very own balanced plate! Happy eating friends x


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