The Plate Method
Now that you are on your own and ready to design your own meals, I want you to think of the Plate Method when deciding what type of foods and how much of them to eat. With today’s jumbo restaurant portions and supersize snacks, it is often difficult to recognize what is indeed a proper “serving.” The Plate Method is a simple way to ensure that each of your meals is balanced and has the right portion sizes. All you have to do is visually split your plate into three parts.
Section 1: Protein: The first section of your plate is for protein (for example, turkey, fish, chicken, or lean beef). The right portion of protein will be about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Protein and veggies are what stabilize your blood sugar and keep you satisfied.
Section 2: Fruits and Nonstarchy Veggies: This section of your plate gives you that important vitamin C. You can load your plate with as many leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, or green salad as you want. This is one section where it is OK to fill up! Because some fruits contain concentrated sugars, you will need to pace yourself better and go easy on these.
Section 3: Whole Grains: The third section of the plate is reserved for complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains such as brown rice. I have included starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, and corn in this category. Starting in Week 3 you will add grains/starchy vegetables to two meals each day. Keep your servings to about the size of a single scoop of ice cream.
You will create your meals within the Plate Method, then “add on” dairy, fats, and desserts. These add-ons are important because they deliver more nutrition and calories. This may sound counterproductive, but you need to be sure your caloric intake doesn’t dip too low. It is not ideal to lose more than two pounds a week, especially during this Fat Burn phase, because the body can’t adjust to rapid changes in chemistry. Therefore, you will “add on” one or two servings of dairy plus two fruits a day. Limit your fat intake at each meal to about the size of your thumb. Having a sense of an ideal portion for your body’s needs is the key to weight loss. It also will allow you to finish a meal feeling satisfied and full of energy. Who doesn’t want that?