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Losing Weight with the Plate Method

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Looking for a way to lose weight that fits into your life whether you are at home, work, out with friends, or at a holiday party? Try the plate method.

This plate is modest in calories and carbs, but high in vitamins, minerals, fiber & antioxidants to support HEALTHY weight loss.

Here’s how:

½ of your half your plate non-starchy COLORFUL veggies -

Whether you are home or out for the holidays, fill this part of your plate first! Loaded with nutrients, but low in calories - veggies are weight loss superheroes.

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, orange carrots, red bell peppers, purple cabbage, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, scallions, garlic… get where I’m going!

Add frozen spinach to smoothies, bell peppers to eggs, vegetable soup with lunch or a side salad with dinner. At a party, fill 1/2 your plate with the crudité to help you balance healthy foods with seasonal treats.

1/4 plate protein - Modest protein through the day provides satisfaction & controls sugar cravings.

Most people overestimate their serving size of protein. Some studies show the body will utilize on average up to 30 grams of protein from a meal. Just 4 oz of animal protein for example (a little bigger than the palm of your hand) = 28 grams of protein. Stop to notice your typical serving size. Are you not getting enough, or way too much?

Don’t forget about delicious plant proteins like edamame, tofu, tempeh, beans & lentils - ½ cup serving size. Challenge yourself to add in at least 1-2 meals a day built around plant proteins. Try this delicious Vegetable Loaded Lentil Soup for lunch or dinner paired with a side salad.

1/4 plate high fiber starchy vegetables (2 servings/day) - Rich in fiber and B vitamins, but easy to overeat - this is the part of the plate most have to watch. Stick to 2 servings from this group each day for weight loss.

A serving = ½ cup of sweet potatoes, potatoes, winter squash, peas & corn, whole grains like cooked brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa (a pseudo-grain), oats, or whole grain bread (1 slice per serving).

Plant Fats: Healthy fats are an important part of the weight-loss plate. They provide you with satiety (long-lasting satisfaction from your meal) and help you absorb vitamins like A, D, E and K.

Similar to those starchy vegetables, calories from fats can quickly add up, so mind your serving size. Up to 1 tbsp of olive oils, nut/seed butters. ¼ of an avocado, 2 tbsp of seeds like (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame….) or 1 cupped palmful of nuts a day.

Shake up your breakfast routine with this Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats recipe, packed with chia seeds, a rich source of anti-inflammatory plant fats, fiber and protein.

Finishing touches

Fruit (2 servings/day): Packed with fiber and vitamin C, fruit is the perfect pick-me up for that 3 pm slump. Keep it to 2 servings a day (1 small whole piece or ½ cup cut). Pair with a plant fat (1 tbsp of nut or seed butter) or protein (Greek-style yogurt), or a high fiber grain (oatmeal). All these choices will help to balance blood sugar for a sustained release of energy to power you through your day.

Fermented foods: Diverse gut bacteria is important to weight loss because these little critters influence how the body digests and absorbs calories and nutrients from food. To support a robust community eat a high fiber diet (the plate method) and incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt (dairy or plant-based), fermented vegetables, pickles or sauerkraut (add 1 tbsp to salads). These can be found in the refrigerator section. Look for “live active cultures” on the label.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day as you add in more fiber-rich whole foods.

This plate has been adapted from The Healthy Eating Plate published by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Check out their website for additional resources.


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