We’ve all heard the promises: Lose 10 pounds in a week! Take inches off your waist overnight! Easy, fast, permanent weight loss! All you have to do is to go on this latest diet.

Unfortunately, most fad diets are unlikely to work, and even if they do, you’ll end up packing on the pounds you shed. So, what’s a girl to do? According to Harvard experts, if there’s one “diet” to follow, it’s The Healthy Eating Plate. And nope, it’s not the Food Pyramid or any of those fitness or health apps on your phone. (No offense, MyPlate.)

WHAT IS THE HEALTHY EATING PLATE?

Formulated by nutrition experts from the Harvard School of Public Health along with editors from the Harvard Health Publications, the Healthy Eating Plate is an updated eating guide laid out in a simple yet detailed format that focuses on food quality above anything else. It provides a clear, in-depth reference on what to eat and which to avoid—as opposed to the vague and oddly inaccurate MyPlate created by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Divided into four basic groups, The Healthy Eating Plate is specifically designed to help you make the best eating choices in consuming healthy, balanced meals.

Before we break down the components of this oh-so healthy plate, let’s clarify some things before you start jotting down some notes for your next meal:
Now, now, don’t get the impression that The Healthy Eating Plate was made to debunk The Healthy Eating Pyramid. Think of the two as best friends meant to complement each other. On one end, The Healthy Eating Pyramid acts as your grocery list that guides you on the quantity and specific assortment of food you should follow. On the other end, the Healthy Eating Plate is your recipe that helps you appropriate and incorporate your chosen food into your daily life.

Together, the two summarize the best dietary information available today, reflecting the latest science about how our food, drink, and activity choices affect our health. Through time, its objective is to consistently be updated with new information and reflect new evidence and trends in order to heed to the present individual’s needs.
Remember that The Healthy Eating Plate’s main premise lies on the quality of food you consume. It’s not a basis on the specific number of calories you should take nor does it dictate the amount of servings per day from each food group. The four sections simply suggest the approximate proportions of each of the food groups that comprise a healthy plate. At the end of the day, quantity and calorie count are based on each unique individual’s nutrition needs that vary based on age, gender, body size, and level of activity.

WHAT THE HEALTHY EATING PLATE IS MADE OF?

Start fully embracing your leafy greens and fruits as they do more than just add color and variety to your plate. Packed with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, they keep you energized and healthy all day, keeping you away from the risk of harmful diseases. And don’t even think about it–potatoes and French fries aren’t included!
Rice is definitely life but eating refined carbs can just add to those extra pounds. Alternate white rice with whole and intact grains such as whole wheat, barley, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods such as whole wheat pasta. Whole grains retain its nutrients, including fiber and protein, which are good for digestion while still keeping you feeling full.

TRY: Green Silo Organic Quinoa (2kg), P1,200, Wholly Grain Sorghum Grains (2kg), P320, 7Grains Company Organic Edamame Protein Pasta, P125
Avoid red and processed meats and go for fish, chicken, beans, and nuts. Not only are they healthy but they are extremely versatile sources of protein. Pair them with vegetables and fibers or mix them into your greens–both quick and easy ways to pack in delicious and clean meats in your plate.
Choosing the right oils and fats is vital in balancing cholesterol levels and maintaining a good amount of essential nutrients your body requires. Stick with healthy vegetable oils such as olive, soy, peanut, and sunflower and avoid hydrogenated oils such as canola, corn, and soybean oil.
Say goodbye to carbonated drinks or any sugary beverage. Even juice (unless pure and unmixed) still contains sugar so limit intake to a small glass per day. As for that daily dose of calcium and zinc, stick with 1 to 2 servings of milk and dairy products per day.

TRY: Café-Te-Ria Agoncillo Blend Coffee, P155, Cordillera Wild Organic Arabica Blend (Ground), P150, Ultra Green Coffee, P500

THE CONCLUSION

Whether eating out or preparing packed lunch for the week, slowly incorporate the indicated food groups and proportions in your current eating method. In due time, you’ll find yourself used to the mix of foods that comprise a healthy plate. Remember that eating right doesn’t equate to dull or lifeless food, especially with the wide array of options to choose from. More than anything, what keeps The Healthy Eating Plate sustainable is having the proper mindset and the right perspective towards your health goals.

And no matter how disciplined you are with your diet, a good balance is marked by having a regular exercise routine. Exercising at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes per session aids in optimal weight control and an overall healthy lifestyle.

To discover more about healthy living, visit our Wellness Tab.

Photos via Shutterstock

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