Plate method - A meal plan template for weight loss
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If you want a simple meal plan template for weight loss, there is nothing quite as simple as the original Plate Method. This healthy plate model controls total carbohydrates at meals as well as calories.
Use this meal plan template for weight loss to turn your healthy habits into a way of life
How does the plate method meal plan template control total carbohydrates at meals as well as calories? It is accomplished by making non-starchy veggies the star of the show and having starches and fats take a back seat. Protein foods come to the rescue to help one feel satisfied with reduced carb content. Dessert gets a makeover - fresh fruit is featured instead of cakes, cookies or candies.
How to use the Plate Method as a healthy plate model
The plate method is based on a round 9 inch plate. Larger plates mean larger servings, more carbs, and more calories. Use a ruler or tape measure to measure the diameter (edge to edge) of the plate.
Half Plate of Non-Starchy Veggies
You can mix two or more types (e.g. salad and asparagus) or just go double on one type. There are so many non-starchy veggies to choose from:
Cabbage (green, red, bok choy, or Chinese)
Greens (e.g. spinach, endive, arugula, etc.)
Mung bean sprouts
Peppers (sweet, hot, etc.)
Snow peas (young sugar snap peas)
Summer squash (crookneck, zucchini)
Swiss chard (chard)
Yellow or wax beans
Quarter Plate of Starchy Veggies or Whole Grains
Choose whole foods, minimally processed, and keep the skins on if possible.
Protein helps you fill up - meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and wild game. Get the most bang for your calories by choosing lean cuts (trim visible fat), avoid deep-fat fried food and remove skin from poultry. A quarter of a round 9-inch plate will contain about 3 oz cooked foods, supplying about 21 grams of protein.
Cheese, nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein, but they are much higher in calories for the same amount of protein grams. For instance, 3 oz of cheddar cheese has about 340 calories for 21 grams of protein, whereas 3 oz of lean pork tenderloin has only 120 calories for the same amount of protein. 3 oz of peanuts will run you about 560 calories to obtain 21 grams of protein. Read this article about leaner protein choices at MyNetDiary: The benefits of eating protein
Egg and egg whites are also protein foods. Egg yolk contains cholesterol so if your doctor has recommended limiting the number of egg yolks (usually 1 a day is okay), then go up in egg whites, which are almost all protein and no cholesterol.
Tofu is also a good source of protein - 6 oz provides about 150 calories and 15 grams of protein. Veggie burgers are an easy way to get more soybean protein with fewer calories. And if you can tolerate gluten, Seitan is high in protein but low in calories. Seitan is wheat gluten with most of the carb fraction removed.
One Serving Milk or Yogurt
The idea is to get a healthful carb that is also high in protein. If you choose unsweetened almond or rice beverage, that is just fine, but just be aware that it is lower in protein than milk, yogurt or soy beverage.
One serving is 1 cup of low fat or skim milk, unsweetened or light soy beverage, light or nonfat yogurt, or dairy substitute beverage.
If you prefer water with your meals, you can move dairy to a snack instead.
One Serving Fresh Fruit
Pick fresh fruit or plain frozen fruit to maximize portion size while keeping calories low.
One serving is 1 small piece of fresh fruit or 1/2 large piece (e.g. banana or grapefruit), 1/2 cup of grapes or cut up mixed fruit, 1 cup of berries, cherries, or melon, 1/2 cup of drained canned fruit (in its own juice, not syrup), dried fruit - the equivalent serving is only 2 tablespoons, fruit juice - the equivalent serving is only 4 fl oz (1/2 cup or 120 ml)
Other tips for using the Plate Method (one of our favorite meal plan templates for weight loss) as your healthy plate model
For carb counting, carbs are limited to 3 carb choices per meal (45 grams of total carbs per meal). To learn more about carb choices and diabetes meal planning, please read this article at MyNetDiary: Diabetes basics
If you focus on whole foods that are minimally processed, then fiber intake is generous. This is good for overall health and helps you fill up.
The Plate Method provides an average of 1500 calories per day if you follow the basic guidelines. Choosing high fat starches (e.g. croissants), higher fat cuts of meats, and adding fats and sugars will add extra calories. This meal planner works well when you really follow the guidelines. If you don't eat veggies, then you will be hungry.
If you prefer to eat smaller meals, you can easily move part of the meal to a snack, about 2 hours after the meal. This works well for weight control and for type 2 diabetes - you are just eating the same amount but spreading it out.