Healthytarian Minutes with holistic teacher Evita Ochel. This episode explains how to build an optimally healthy meal plate as part of a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Learn how to eat an optimal diet for your health and weight with the Eat Real Food: Whole-Food, Plant-Based Eating online video program.

Video transcript:

What you eat and how much you eat will greatly determine the quality of your health, weight, energy and overall wellbeing. To build a nutritionally sound and optimally healthy plate, follow these tips:

Focus on eating the right foods, rather than specific nutrients. All whole, plant foods provide an excellent spectrum of nutrients and meet our nutrition needs adequately when we eat a variety of them daily. All whole plant foods contain protein, and foundational foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and beans are naturally high in healthy carbohydrates (our body’s main fuel) and fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and they are naturally low in fat.

For typical meals:

  • About two-thirds of your plate should consist of vegetables. Aim for raw, steamed or gently cooked vegetables, as much as possible, as opposed to canned or heavily cooked ones. This would resemble about 2 cups of vegetables.

  • The remaining one-third of your plate should consist of beans or whole grains, and would resemble about 1 cup.

  • If your diet includes any animal foods, be sure to keep its portion to about ½ cup, 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards, and increase your vegetable amount even more.

Standard food groups are not an ideal way to eat and you do not have to try to get all food groups in one sitting. It is actually better for your digestion to focus on simpler meals and smart food combining. For example, make a meal plate by combining vegetables with grains, such as a brown rice and vegetable curry; or make a meal plate by combining vegetables with beans, such as a whole-meal salad or veggie chili.

For best digestion, eat your fruits on their own, as snacks or in between meals. Aim for at least 3 to 4 fruits, or fruit servings daily.

Herbs and spices can be used liberally, and nuts and seeds can be used in small amounts to enhance your meals, whether on their own, or as part of homemade sauces.

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