Have you ever wondered how much to dish up to yourself, so your plate packs a nutritious punch? Providing yourself with a well-balanced plate of food during your main meals is one of the key aspects of a healthy meal plan. Keep this visual tool in a prominent position (ie. the fridge, at work) and you will set yourself up to be focussed on portions on a daily basis.

1. Pile up half your plate with free vegetables or salad.

Fill half of your dinner plate with non-starchy (free) vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, tomato or spinach. If you’re having a side salad, prepare a big salad instead and throw whatever you have hanging around the bottom of the crisper in with the salad leaves. This fills you up for few kilojoules/calories. Just don’t drown the salad in salad dressing. 1 teaspoon of olive oil and lemon juice is a nice, healthy salad spritzer.

Think of the rainbow and choose vegetables with lots of different colours: greens, yellows, oranges, reds and browns. Subsequently the more colours you have, the greater variety of vitamins and minerals you will eat.

2. One quarter of your plate with lean meat, fish, or chicken.

Include one quarter of your plate as lean protein such as lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, egg, pork or fish. If the protein portion is lean, with no skin or additional fat present, you immediately lower the saturated fat content of the portion.

3. One quarter of your plate with low GI rice, pasta, bread or beans.

The last quarter of your plate should be made up of starchy low GI carbohydrate for lasting energy. The healthiest carbs are basmati or wild rice, whole grain bread, sweet potato, pasta, lentils, chick peas, or four bean mix. Additionally, by including legumes, you also increase the fibre and protein components of your meal.

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