Get Your Plate in Shape

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange varieties, as well as beans and peas.
  • Try a new fruit each week. For suggestions consider kiwi, mango, papaya, or pomegranate.
  • Make sure every meal and snack has at least one fruit or vegetable or both.

Make one-quarter of your plate whole grains.

  • Choose brown rice, barley and oats and other whole grains for your sides and ingredients.
  • Switch to 100-percent whole-grain breads, cereals and crackers. For more information, listen to my “Whole Grain Nutrition” radio interview on this website under Nancy in the News.


Make on-quarter of your plate lean protein.

  • Eat a variety of foods each week from the protein food group like seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.
  • Eat more plant-based proteins such as nuts, beans, whole grains and whole soy foods like tofu and edamame.
  • At least twice a week, make fish and seafood the protein on your plate.
  • Keep meat and poultry portions lean and limit to three ounces per meal.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

  • Fat-free and low-fat milk have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and fewer calories.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars.

  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks like regular sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and sweetened teas and coffees. Choose 100-percent fruit juice.
  • Season foods with spices or herbs instead of salt.
  • Use heart-healthy oils like olive, canola and sunflower oil in place of butter or shortening when cooking.

For more information on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, consider making an appointment with Farrell Dietitian Services.