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Elements of a Healthy Dinner Plate

Just having vegetables on your dinner plate isn't enough - they need a starring role!

A quick look at your dinner plate will tell you whether you are eating from the food groups in the right proportions. 

½  Plate Non Starchy Vegetables 
¼  Lean Protein
¼  Whole Grains                                                                                               

Here are some other tips for getting the right mix of the food groups:

Eat vegetables any time of day

Stuff an omelet with spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. Have a side salad with lunch or dinner. Add spinach to smoothies for added health benefits without altering the taste.

Cut your protein in half

Protein should only take up ¼ of your plate and should be no more than 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards). Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, turkey, and vegetable based protein sources like beans, lentils, veggie burgers and soy products.

Make your grains whole grains

Food labels can be misleading. Check the ingredient label and make sure the first item listed contains the word whole grain (not enriched). Also check the label for at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Choose whole grains, such as wheat berry, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and steel cut oats.

Be wary of fruit juice

While 100% fruit juice does count as a serving of fruit, remember that juices are packed with sugar. Try to make the majority of your fruit and vegetable choices from whole foods. You’ll get more vitamins, minerals and fiber that way!

Make veggie dips with low or nonfat Greek yogurt

Great ready-to-eat veggies include red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes. Keep them handy for dipping.

Nonfat Ranch Dip: combine 16 oz. of low fat Greek yogurt or fat free sour cream with one packet of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Mix and enjoy with your favorite vegetables. 

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