The Healthy Eating Plate Method of eating is an easy, visual way for diabetics or anyone to eat the right portions for your meals.
Using the Healthy Eating Plate Method simplifies your life.
Are you looking for a simple way to figure out exactly how much of what to eat? Enter the Healthy Eating Plate Method of controlling what you eat. Take a look at the picture above. That looks tasty, doesn’t it? And it’s super easy.
Figuratively Divide Your Plate
I divided the plate to help you see what you should be eating. Half the plate holds fruits and vegetables. One-quarter holds lean protein, in this case tuna. And the final quarter of the plate holds healthy grains or starchy vegetables. You can add a little bit of fat (1 tablespoon of salad dressing or 1 teaspoon butter) and a little bit of dairy–like a cup of milk or a small, small piece of cheese (if you eat dairy products).
Diabetic Exchange Diet Confusing
Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes makes eating super complicated, doesn’t it? It did for me. I began my journey with diabetes by trying to understand the Diabetic Exchange Diet, which I found to be both depressing and utterly confusing. I’ve written about that diet before.
It requires lots of memorization and counting. I’ve never been good at either, but I did eventually figure it out. The “exchanges” are not really “servings,” although that’s how they were described in the materials I was given by the nutritionist many years ago.
My nutritionist said I could, for a total of 1,695 calories per day, eat the following:
- 2 exchanges dairy
- 5 exchanges bread or starchy vegetables, but not more than one at a time!
- 7 exchanges fats
- 12 exchanges lean meat (about 12 ounces)
- 3 exchanges fruit
- 3 exchanges vegetables
Not so simple, is it? However, I find this printable Diabetic Exchanges PDF from the University of California to be an excellent resource. It tells you how much of each common food you can eat at one meal. For example, you can have one-half a cup of corn. But if you have corn, you can’t have another starchy vegetable or grain, assuming you are following what my nutritionist suggested. You quickly learn to fill up on the low-carb veggies, like spinach.
To get my blood sugar under control, I had to seriously change my eating habits and restrict carbohydrates, which meant counting carbs.
Use the Glycemic Index
Years later, learning about the glycemic index helped me understand which foods were likely to spike my blood sugar levels.
As a general rule of thumb, remove anything white from your diet, or simply eat less of it. That is, substitute a food with a low glycemic index (GI) for one with a high GI, such as swapping sweet potatoes (orange, with a low GI) for russet potatoes (white with a high GI) .
The foods with the lower GI take longer for your body to process into fuel (glucose) and therefore your blood sugar doesn’t spike high to cause problems.
The Healthy Eating Plate Method, So Easy!
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the plate method is a simple, visual way to make sure you get enough non-starchy vegetables and lean protein, and limit the amount of higher-carb food that has the greatest potential to spike your blood sugar.”
The “MyPlate” method of eating replaced the United States Department of Agriculture’s “food pyramid” in June 2011, simplifying the recommended way to eat. I found it much easier to understand than any of the other diet recommendations. They even have an app you can download here.
Using a 10-to-12-inch plate, here’s what you do:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and non-starchy vegetables
- Fill one-quarter of your plate with lean protein, like grilled chicken, fish, beans or quinoa.
- Fill one-quarter of your plate with grains or starchy vegetables, like half a sweet potato, half-a-cup of brown rice or a piece of whole-grain bread.
- Add a little fat (1 tablespoon or salad dressing or 1 teaspoon of butter or oil).
- Add about a cup of dairy (such as low-fat milk).
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.
This article was originally posted on Recipe Idea Shop February 24, 2021.