#6: Healthy Plate Method – Action Steps

Lindsey Purcell, a PACT Dietitian, walks through a set of tips for putting the Healthy Plate Method into action. Focusing on how small changes can make a big impact.
The healthy plate method is not a diet but a strategy to focusing on making healthy choices one meal at a time. This concepts can be modified and tailored to your individual needs and that’s where Dietitians can help.  
Here are some actions you can take now to put this method into place. 
1. Veggies for breakfast
Increase your intake of colorful vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals. The goal is filling ½ your plate of non-starchy vegetables three times a day to be on the right track. 
Try adding pico to your eggs! You can make it yourself or find in the produce section. 
2. Let’s talk noodles
Moving on to one of the most talked about topics I hear on a regular basis is carbohydrates. I would recommend first making the switch from enriched white grains to a whole grain. Then after you cook your pasta consider reducing the size on your plate so you can fit those non-starchy colorful vegetables on half of it. Grilled asparagus are a favorite! 

3. Adding the fat
Salad dressings are a great way add some good fats and breath some life to those leaves. You can experiment with a variety of oils, vinegars, herbs and spices. Here is a basic recipe we love:

o   ¾ cup oil (olive, extra virgin olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil)
o   ¼ cup vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red or white wine)
o   1 tsp garlic
o   1 tsp oregano
o   1 tsp basil
o   Salt/pepper/onion powder/red pepper as desired
4. Hide the goods
Drinking smoothies is a great way to get that healthy plate in. Think about the plate when you build the blender. I recommend the single serve blender for this because it keeps portion size on target. Add a leafy green, small handful of fruit, and protein source. 
5. Bulk up your protein
Cook your meat in bulk. For example, if you and your spouse decide to grill chicken Sunday. Try cooking chicken for three meals vs just one since you already have the grill out. What if you have a change of plans and don’t eat those extras? No problem, toss those in an air tight bag and freeze for later. 
Host Bio:Lindsey Purcell, MS, RD, LDN is a Clinical Nutrition Supervisor and Registered Dietitian. She serves veterans out of the Mt Vernon, IL CBOC within the Marion VA Health Care System. She received her education from SIU in Carbondale and has been at the VA for over nine years. She specializes in helping veterans transition into eating healthier one step at a time. Making simple modifications to current meal favorites and debunking diet culture myths using an intuitive eating approach.