What is a “Healthy Meal”?
Defining a “healthy meal” can be a tough question, with multiple answers. For some it could be a vegetarian or plant-based meal with a balance of nutrients. Some might think it is a meal filled with scary vegetables like, kale, low-fat foods and lean meats. Others might say it is just a meal that nourishes the body. Or the answer could be “it just depends”. Each person and family can lay out a meal plan that is “healthy” for them. The “it depends” answer is very true, there is no one size fits all diet. Planning a healthy meal can have its challenges, we all have our likes and dislikes. Some us may even have dietary restrictions that surround allergies and medical conditions. But with a few simple tips we can all plan meals that are healthy, delicious and fit all our families needs.
The USDA is currently promoting the ‘Choose My Plate’ model to illustrate what a healthy meal should look like. Their plate allows for about 20 servings a day with half the plate made up of vegetables and fruit. The other half calls for lean proteins, whole grains and good oils. The added circle represents low-fat dairy products. Their model includes a list of recommended foods for each category. This is a good place to start for those who are just starting to redesign their diets. There are several tools and resource at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
This model is not the only model out there, if you research a healthy plate or food pyramid you will find several, all offering a different take on diets. This may seem confusing but since we are all individuals it’s important to keep in mind all our plates will look different. Here are just a few of the different and very reasonable models out there.
Keeping in mind with all these models, healthy properly prepared meals, filled with nutritious ingredients are the best way to fill your plate! As well as remembering we all have our own dietary needs and or restrictions and we should never make any changes that may put our health at risk. The FMP encourages families to try new recipes, new vegetables, and include more whole foods in your diet. Moving away from expensive pre-packaged convince foods will benefit your health and budget.