Holiday Meal? Use The Healthy Plate Model

I was reading this winter’s “Diabetic Living” magazine (I have a subscription), when I came across this awesome article and picture!

It’s the healthy plate model. When I learned this technique about ten years ago, it changed how we eat at home, at restaurants, and during the holidays. We follow a low carb diet to help manage Rhodes’ blood sugar and reduce the amount of insulin he needs to take with each meal. How can you eat a Healthy Plate??

First, divide your plate (in your head) into four sections. Fill two sections (or half your plate), with non-starchy vegetables. So, no corn, squash, or potatoes over here. Look for bright colors, preferably fresh greens. Those are guaranteed to be lower carb! Just watch out for hidden carbs and sugar in sauces and dressings!

Next, fill 1/4 of your plate with protein. Ideally, lean grilled or baked meats, beans, hummus or tofu. Protein will help keep you full longer and again, is lower carb.

Last, allow yourself a taste of your favorite carbs- starchy vegetables and grains, stuffing, potatoes, squash, rice or pasta. But, don’t pile it up, and don’t take more than 1/4 of your plate. If you get served too large a portion of starch, move some off your plate by sharing with someone else at the table. This is where you will limit the amount of carbs you take in, and avoid a blood sugar spike and all the symptoms that come along with high blood sugar.

Try this method at Thanksgiving! You may get teased for holding up the line as you jump around the buffet to fill your plate in the correct order, but tell your friends and family what you are up to. Maybe they will get on board with the healthy plate model too!

PS. Here’s a tip for dessert. Take a smaller dessert sized plate and again divide it (in your head) into quarters. Only take a taste or two of dessert so you only fill 1/4 of the plate. That’s your starch/sugar section after all. Leave the other 3 sections empty, and enjoy a big cup of unsweetened hot tea or decaf coffee instead! This way you will get a taste, but not blow your carb count for the meal!

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