Friday, May 22, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Balancing Your Plate

Bao Plate Angle 2
Even if waffly on taste, Take a Bao definitely got the balanced plate down with half a plate stacked high with a lightly-dressed veggie salad (not to mention more inside the baos themselves!)

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

For me, Memorial Day weekend is definitely the kick-off for summer, which brings with it plenty of barbecues, parties and potlucks that'll inevitably turn into eating too much. Again, once in a while isn't bad, but if you're heading to family-style, help-yourself, all-you-can-eat events with some frequency, it's definitely a good idea to keep the calorie intake in check. Hey, we all work hard for to shed those holiday pounds and get that swimsuit-ready bod, let's keep it that way!

One useful tip that I read from Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating (amazingly interesting book, by the way, on the psychological aspects and influences on what and how much we consume) is the "half-plate rule" where, when helping yourself, you fill half the plate with low-calorie, healthful fruits and veggies and use the other half for the more calorie-dense proteins, grains and starchy veggies (e.g. corn, potatoes.) Personally, I'd even take it one level further and fill up two-thirds of your plate with the healthy stuff and splurge on the remaining third, but 50-50 is still great progress for someone used to zero healthy stuff on the plate.

The benefits of the balanced plate rule are threefold: 1) it helps reacquaint/familiarize/remind one with the idea of the balanced meal, which should ideally be at least 50% non-starchy plant-based foods anyways 2) it fills up without weighing down as much because less calories are consumed overall and most importantly, 3) it's NOT depriving since it still allows one the freedom to pick whatever he or she wants, it's simply balancing it out so one don't overdip into one or two food categories at the negligence of all the others. You still get to celebrate with your favorite festive foods, but you're just doing it more sensibly.

So, at that next bash, keep the balanced plate rule in mind (again: one-half to two-thirds of the plate with healthy veggies and fruits) and you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty the next day.


Nanciful said...

Great idea! I usually make myself feel better by taking a little bit of everything that I like. But then I go back to get seconds, thirds...twelveth's.

Will definitely be using this rule during the bbq this weekend.