Making a Healthy Plate
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about how to make nutritious food choices amidst our busy work and personal schedules. We tend to make ‘healthy eating’ seem much more complicated than it actually needs to be. Making healthy choices can actually be quite easy. A tool that you can use to make healthy choices quick and simple is called the “Healthy Plate”.
Picture a plate. Ideally, half of it would be filled with some sort of vegetables (raw, steamed, roasted, a salad, whatever you like), a quarter of it would be a source of meat and alternatives (such as meat, fish, eggs, beans/lentils/chickpeas, and a quarter would be a whole grain (like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread). To translate this into a meal eaten out of containers at work, use your hands as a guide to choose portions - think a palm-size of meat, a fist of whole grains, and as many vegetables as you can fit in your hands cupped together. Simply think palm – fist – cup to ensure you have a balanced meal in appropriate amounts.
When deciding what to pack for your meal for work, start by asking yourself “What’s my vegetable? What’s my meat or alternative? And what’s my whole grain?” Some ideas could include leftovers from last night’s supper, for instance:
- a fist size of whole grain spaghetti with meat sauce and a couple cups of salad with a tasty dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried oregano,
- a palm size portion of chicken seasoned with some freshly ground black pepper and your favourite spices or herbs, a fist size of barley, and a cup of steamed vegetables (not much time? Pop some frozen vegetables in the microwave!),
- a palm size portion of baked salmon with fresh dill and lemon juice, a fist of brown and wild rice, and your favourite roasted vegetables (how about zucchini, bell peppers, and red onion?)
One of my favourite parts of my job is when clients come back after making some changes to their eating and tell me how they’re feeling so much better. They say: “I actually have energy now!”, “I don’t need a nap when I get home from work anymore!”, “I feel like I can concentrate better and focus when I’m at work!”
I love when people are able to make the connection between fueling their bodies with nutritious, whole foods and feeling great. What we put into our bodies plays a big role in our health and wellbeing, and our eating habits at work can be a great place to start! What’s your ‘Healthy Plate’ combination for meals at work?