How do we make a healthy diet plan – sounds tough but it really is not.
The answer to the question lies at the basics
i.e. what is a healthy diet. Once you have the answer to what constitutes a healthy diet, you have the building blocks upon which you can build your healthy diet plan. So let us start with a healthy diet.
Constituents of a healthy Diet Plan
According to the USDA (Unites States Department of Agriculture – it also looks into nutritional issues), a healthy diet plan is diet that contains all of five food groups i.e. vegetables, grains, proteins, fruits and dairy products in the approximate ratio of 3:3:2:2. In other words, your healthy diet plan should consist of 30% vegetables (little more than a quarter of your plate), another 30% should be occupied by grains. The remaining 40% of your plate should be divided equally between proteins and fruit. Apart from this, you also need to have a small plate, cup or glass of some dairy product.
Food Portions – Quantity of food you should eat to sustain a healthy diet plan
A food portion refers to the quantity of a particular type of food you should eat in a meal. Dietitians will inform you that you should aim to eat no more and no less than the required quantity of food per meal. Here are a few examples food and their portion size per meal based on ‘MyPlate’ i.e. USDA recommendation:
- Milk or Yogurt – one cup
- Proteins (meat, poultry, fish) – roughly the size and thickness of a audio cassette tape
- Fruit – about the size of a tennis ball
- Grains – one cup (cooked)
- Vegetables – one-and-half cup (cooked) or two cups salad
Planning Your Healthy Diet Plan
Now that you know what should be in your healthy diet plan as well as how much should be in your plate, all you need to do is plan the daily menu. To start with, plan for no more than seven days. See how your healthy diet plan works. At the end of seven days, you will probably need to tweak your healthy diet plan a bit. While planning, you do not have to worry too much about the calorie part i.e. so long as you have the quantities right; there is no need to count the calories. However, if you have a fetish for accuracy and wish to maintain a record, then I recommend you use an Android-powered digital tab (costs $125 or so), download and install a diet tracker or use an online version.
A diet tracker is software that enables you to select the food and quantity you have eaten or propose to eat. The software will display the calories the chosen food contains as well as compare the diet with the USDA recommendation. It keeps a track of your daily food intake (calorie intake) and exercise (calories spent). The diet tracker helps ensure you stay on track. You can connect the digital tab to a printer and obtain a daily, weekly, or monthly printout of your healthy diet plan.
Check these sample healthy eating menu plans, too!