The One Simple Trick That Makes Any Meal Healthier, Say Dietitians
Sometimes it feels like every single person has an opinion of what it's like to eat healthier. And while those specific tips work for those individuals, it doesn't make it easier for someone who's looking to start their journey towards better health. If you find yourself stuck in a place where you want to eat healthier but have no idea where to start, Meghan Sedivy, RD, LDN, who is also Fresh Thyme Market's Corporate Registered Dietitian and Health & Wellness Strategy Manager, has a simple trick you can try that will make any meal healthier.
Her tip? Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Instead of limiting yourself to only eating "healthy" foods and ditching your favorite meals, simply portion out your plate so you can still eat the foods you love, while also filling up your meal with nutritious and healthy produce.
Here's are some easy ways to make that happen on your plate, and for some healthy recipe inspiration, check out our list of 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.
Fill half your plate with produce for a healthier meal.
"Making simple swaps in your meals is an easy way to make them healthier," says Sedivy. "For example, I love making half my plate fruits and vegetables, while the other half balances out the protein and carbohydrate components of my meal."
This particular plate method accurately resembles the MyPlate Dietary Guidelines from the USDA, which is a generic nutritional guideline anyone can use in order to put together a healthier plate for every meal. Plus, it's an easy guideline to remember—just fill half your plate with colorful produce, and voila! A healthier meal.
Why does this make your meal healthier? It's all due to the boost in nutritional value you get from the produce that's on your plate.
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Tips for adding more fruits and vegetables
While many fruits and vegetables will do for this half-plate method, Sedivy has a few clever tips in order to ensure you're always getting those fruits and vegetables without feeling like you're always stuck with filling your plate with a side salad.
"One of my favorite ways to add more produce to my meals is adding fresh veggies like mushrooms, spinach, and colorful bell peppers to an egg scramble or omelet to reap the benefits of a hearty meal filled with nutrients and fiber to fill up and keep full longer, not to mention it tastes delicious," she says.
Sedivy also recommends adding a variety of colors to your plate, in order to ensure a variety of health benefits with every meal.
"When filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, strive for a variety of colors," says Sedivy. "Each color represents different nutrients. Red produce, like tomatoes, is filled with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, that may help reduce inflammation and promote gut health. Green foods, like Brussels sprouts, are naturally colored by chlorophyll and are an excellent source of vitamin K and potassium to promote heart health. Yellow veggies, like corn, are packed with lutein, vitamin A and vitamin C to promote healthy eye and immune function. A variety of colors ensures a nutrient-dense meal that you can feel good about."
Not sure what to add? Stocking up on some easy-to-eat vegetables makes filling up your plate an absolute breeze. Next time you're at the grocery store, grab a few bags of your favorite vegetables (baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, bell pepper slices, celery, etc.) and some of your favorite fruits (bananas, apples, berries, stone fruits, mango, etc.) and following this trick to healthier meals will be as simple as we make it sound! Here are the 15 Best Frozen Fruits & Vegetables to Keep on Hand.
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