If you’ve ever been trying to decide what to make for dinner and thought to yourself, what veggies should I serve with that? The MyPlate method for planning healthy meals is going to make a lot of sense to you!
The MyPlate concept is simple.
- Divide your plate into four sections.
- Half your plate should be Fruits and veggies
- 1/4 of your plate should be protein
- 1/4 of your plate should be whole grains.
There is no reason to make it more complicated. If you follow the MyPlate method when you are planning your own meals, or meals for your family, you can be confident that you are getting enough nutrients, in the proper balance.
I have a printable meal planner that I refer to when I’m sitting down to plan my meals, using all the food groups.
Start your meal planning with the protein
I will always start my decision about what to plan for dinner with the protein first. This generally makes it easier to choose the side dishes. I’ll pick proteins based on what is on sale for the week, or what I have in my freezer. So, If I want to use ground beef, I’ll start there.
After choosing the protein, I’ll decide what sounds good for the week. It could be tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers, etc.
Second, select the grains
I’ll move onto the grains and decide which grains go best with my protein. If I chose the tacos, I’ll add tortillas. If I chose spaghetti, we’ll get some pasta. If we are having hamburgers, I’ll add buns!
Finally, select fruits and veggies
While technically, MyPlate separates the fruits and veggies, it’s just a general concept for the day. You CAN choose (and I get this question a lot!) to eat half your plate fruit for breakfast, and then half your plate veggies for lunch and dinner. This is what I do! In fact, it just makes sense.
So, after I have my protein and grains, if I chose tacos for dinner, I’ll add lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc. as my veggies. If we’re having spaghetti, usually a nice green salad is a great option! If we are eating hamburgers, we could make some homemade sweet potato fries, or pile the mushrooms and lettuce on the burger itself.
As a bonus for dinner, you could always add berries and cream for dessert and get some fruit in there as well.
Beyond Dinner for MyPlate Meal Planning
You can go through this same process for breakfast and lunch as well. While I don’t always plan meals for the family for breakfast and lunch, I do plan my own meals. I would usually have something like
- Protein: Eggs
- Grains: Toast
- Fruit: Bananas and strawberries
- Dairy: mozzarella cheese
- Protein: Some leftover chicken, chopped plus light mayo
- Grains: a roll to eat it on!
- Veggies: Cucumbers and carrots
- Fruit: raspberries (or whatever is in season)
Follow these simple steps for healthy meal planning using MyPlate and you can be confident you are eating a healthy diet!
Here’s some more dinner ideas, using MyPlate!
Dinner: chicken, rice, peppers, snowpeas, and raspberries
Dinner: Beef stroganoff with ground beef, mushrooms, pasta, blueberries and broccoli patties.
Don’t forget to grab the meal plan printable template here. Start planning your own healthy meals I also have a 1 day meal plan template if you just want to practice (or give your kids a little nutrition homework assignment!