National Nutrition Week is coming to an end, but eating right—as we all know—is something that needs to be for life. Diets come and go, and believe me, I've tried many of them, but in the end, it is these basic precepts of good nutrition that stay: eat your vegetables and fruits, get in enough protein, choose whole grains over refined food, eat good fats. However, if this sound too vague, there is an easier way to plan your meals right, one that I've found tremendously useful while trying to lose weight. All it takes is getting what I think of as the perfect plate consistently.
Not that this is a new or original concept, of course. In 2011, then first lady, Michelle Obama, replaced the famous food pyramid with something simpler—MyPlate—as part of her campaign against childhood obesity. The guide, intended to help parents plan healthy meals for their children, consists of a colourful divided plate, each representing a particular food group. In 2018, Suzy Wengel, a Denmark-based nutritionist, came up with the Scandi Sense Diet, touted to be “the simplest diet in the world.” Wengel, who lost over ninety pounds with this diet, measured various components of her meal, by hand, literally. A perfect “meal box”, as she called it, consisted of a couple of handfuls of vegetables, one of protein, one of grain and two or three tablespoons of fat. Also, up to 10 ounces of milk products were allowed per day. The well-known Diabetes Plate Method is also based on the same idea, dividing a plate into non-starchy vegetables, lean protein and carbohydrate food, with water or a low-calorie drink on the side.
Ready to start creating the perfect plate? Read on
Here is how I would plan out my own meals using this method. Feel free to change depending on your own preferences and dietary requirements. I prefer eating three meals and not snacking but you can tweak it to include a snack or two, too, if you like.
One dosa or 2 idlis
Sambar with vegetables
Vegetable-based chutney (not coconut)
A cup of coffee
A plate of salad or raita
A bowl of millets
A bowl of dal or an egg-white omelette