Healthy Eating: How Much of What Should You Be Eating?

If you are anything like me you are trying your best to eat the right types of food in the right amounts. When trying to ensure that I was eating the proper portion sizes of the different food groups I started researching how much of each type of food I should be eating. After several minutes of searching online my head was practically spinning from all of the different advice on how much to eat and what to eat.

The Old Food Pyramid

It was disappointing to see that nutrition guidelines might still be as complicated today as they were back when I was in grade school. When I was in school I remember my teacher teaching us about the food pyramid. Now, I remember her teaching us about the food pyramid but in all honesty the only thing I remember about the pyramid was that it was pyramid shaped. I have no clue as to what type of food was located where in the pyramid. While I do remember that there were pictures of food on it I don’t remember what a proper portion size was for the type of food I was supposed to eat.

For kids like me the food pyramid was too complicated and it was an ineffective way to try to teach proper nutrition. Fortunately someone, somewhere seems to a have gotten this message. The most recent guidelines have greatly simplified the portion sizes you should be eating for the different food groups. The food pyramid has been redesigned into a new visual called “My Plate.”

The New “My Plate”

When I first saw “My Plate” I was overjoyed! They had finally created a teaching tool that was much easier to understand and much less complicated than the food pyramid. To follow the “My Plate” food portion guidelines just make sure that one fourth of your plate is fruits, one fourth is vegetables, one fourth is protein, the last fourth is grains, and that you include one serving of dairy.

A word of caution, even if you follow the new guidelines to the letter there is a potential problem. Let’s say you religiously follow these guidelines and you are still not losing weight. How is that possible? The answer is simple; you are probably eating off of plates that are too large making your portion sizes too large. Believe it or not the size of our plates has increased over the last few decades. A few decades ago a dinner plate was around 7-9 inches in diameter and today it is around 11-12 inches in diameter.

Keep the size of your plate in mind when you sit down to eat using your new “My Plate” guidelines and you will be able to downsize your food portions accordingly. This will help you work towards your goals and you should be well on your way to success!