NUTRITIONIST AVAANTI DESHPAANDE

Learn the art to eat smart!!

Eating with a healthy plate method

The plate method is a helpful technique of dividing the plate into many halves enabling one to measure the appropriate portion sizes they are consuming or should consume.
It was first the Swedish Diabetic Association that proposed the plate model as a simple dietary education method that provided a visual representation of healthy eating through the use of pictures, graphs, charts, and food replicas. The pie chart being represented as a Food Plate displayed the various food groups and their portion sizes. It was seen that the major benefit of this model was an enhancement of the connection between dietary theory and practice. It held an important practical nutrition education tool and thus, was then widely incorporated in many dietary guidelines across the globe.
Later in the year 2011, the United States of America (USA), as a part of their healthy eating communications initiatives launched MyPlate which was then extensively used to spread the knowledge about understanding the food groups, their portion sizes, and about how to build the healthy food plate at the mealtimes. Soon after, this method became famous worldwide and everyone started following the “Food plate method”.
The healthy food plate for Indians based on a 2000 kcal diet depicts diversified foods and food groups including Cereals, Pulses, Eggs, Nuts and Oilseeds, Flesh foods, Milk and its products, Vegetables, and fruits. These contain macronutrients along with a variety of micronutrients, anti-oxidants, bioactive compounds, etc.
The ICMR- National Institute of Nutrition recommends the inclusion of 8 food groups per day in every meal for the provision of Macronutrients and Macronutrients from these and to eliminate hidden hunger (Deficiency of Micronutrients) and thus the proportions of these food groups ensure adequate intake of all the micronutrients. The recommendations are as follows.
Healthy Plate by Nutritionist Avantii Deshpande

The eating plate should consist of:

  • Vegetables and fruits– They should form ½ of your plate as they are rich in fibre both soluble and insoluble. They provide satiety for a longer period and also give the feeling of fullness which is very helpful for those wanting to loose weight. They also avoid insulin spikes and are very helpful in treating some acute constipation. Ideally, one must consume around 300-350g/day of vegetables and fruits.
  • Cereals and Nutri-cereals (Millets) – In the other half, almost 1/3rd of this half should be occupied by Cereals and Nutri-cereals. They are carbohydrate-rich foods like Whole wheat, Rice, Rye, Barley, and millets like Foxtail millet, Ragi(Finger millet), Jowar(Sorghum millet), Bajra (Pearl millet), Buckwheat millet (Kuttu), Rajgira(Amaranth millet), Varai(Little millet) and so on. One must consume complex carbs as compared to simpler ones. Millets play a pivotal role in gluten-sensitive enteropathies as they are gluten-free. They are also low GI and rich in fibre. Their recommended intake is around 200-240g/day.
  • Pulses, Eggs, and Flesh foods: Major out of the remaining 2/3rd portion consists of protein-rich sources like dals, lentils, eggs, lean meat, fish, etc., and are very important for the structural development of our body. A protein of high biological value is recommended for maximum absorption and utilization. It aids in wear and tear in our body. Also, In this way, all the essential amino acids are supplied to the body. It should be consumed around 90g/day. (Note: Egg/Fish/Meat can substitute pulse on some days)
  • Milk and Milk products: They are represented as a glass/bowl outside the plate in the form of buttermilk or curd and are important for achieving the required protein, and calcium, and are the sole source of Vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet. The ideal intake is around 300 ml of milk or milk products.
  • Nuts and Oil seeds: They include invisible sources of fats like MUFA, EPA, and DHA  and are very important for optimal brain functioning, growth, and regulation of our fat metabolism in our body. The recommended intake is 30g/day.
  • Fats and Oils:  These include the smallest portion on the plate and are the visible sources of fat used to improve the palatability and flavors of the food. The consumption should be around 25-27g/day.

The healthy plate method is overall very effective and has many advantages:

  • It improves immunity resistance to infections and overall health.
  • It also ensures adequate fiber intake thereby ruling out the symptoms of constipation.
  • It helps to maintain good gut microbiota (good bacteria in the intestines) 
  • It prevents insulin spikes and sudden hypoglycemia and maintains proper insulin sensitivity and glycemic control.
  • It reduces the risk of Cardiovascular diseases and many other such diseases if coupled with a good exercise regimen.
  • It also helps in maintaining the optimum pH of our body and aids in reducing the oxidative stress in our body.
  • It maintains the portions under control and also prevents hidden hunger.

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