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Nutritious Food Design

How to avoid the feeling of deprivation when making the choice to eat well. Discover a simple system that will serve as a guide for intuitive eating decisions when crunching calories isn’t an option.

Lesson Objectives:
• Explore the foods that both fuel AND satisfy you
• Understand the building blocks of a balanced meal
• Learn tips and tricks around the portions that fuel you

Lesson Summary:
Creating better eating habits are best achieved when nutritious ingredients are both crave-able and filling. In this lesson, we’ll teach you how that’s possible with a simple lesson in building a proper plate of food. Along with helping you understand which food groups fuel you, these tools serve as a framework for making better decisions, even when you are dining out.

Plate Real Estate

Our version of Plate Real Estate is simpler and more inclusive than USDA MyPlate. While MyPlate provides basic dietary needs, it has more of a narrow scope than what is encompassed in Plate Real Estate. MyPlate includes dairy as a necessary component. Approximately 65% amount of the population has digestive problems with milk so we want to be more supportive of an adaptive pattern of meeting nutritional needs. The nutrients found in milk such as calcium and vitamin D can easily be found in other components of Plate Real Estate. Carbohydrates include more than just grains, as seen in the MyPlate model. We believe in the power of fiber and its importance in the body, so we have expanded this section to include not only grains but also starchy vegetables. Healthy fats are also an important part of the diet so we want to make sure we highlight the need to include them, in small amounts of course.

Complex Carbs

What does “complex” carb even mean? This means that the sugar molecules that make up a carbohydrate are strung together and branched out like a coil. Complex carbs are often rich in fiber making them satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbs can be found in whole plant foods such as whole grains, beans, lentils, and even potatoes. Whole grains contain all parts of the wheat which includes the germ, endosperm and bran. The germ and bran provide fiber and nutrients such as B vitamins. Refined grains such as white bread have stripped away the germ and bran so they only provide energy and no additional nutrients.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are the building blocks for leaner body mass and help repair damage done through environmental factors and physical exertion. “Lean” refers to protein that is trimmed of unnecessary fat and has little to no marbling and no skin. Examples of lean protein include beef tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, firm white fish, pork tenderloin, and even plant sources such as beans, nuts and seeds.

Colorful Produce

Eat the rainbow! Colorful produce provides a wide range of vitamins, micronutrients and antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for everyday body functions like heart function, digestion, bone growth, and much more. Antioxidants play an important role in slowing and even preventing oxidative damage. They may also improve immune function.

Healthy Fats

Fat helps with healthy cellular and brain function as well as metabolism which converts food into energy. The trick is choosing the right fat for the job. Saturated and trans fats, or the “bad fats”, will raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol which increases risk for heart disease. Bad fats are found in butter, shortening, and animal fat. The “good fats” are mono and polyunsaturated fats which will lower total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. These can be found in olive or other cooking oils, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fish like salmon or mackerel.

What does your plate real estate look like? Does it include all four components?