Healthy Eating Meal Plan Wk 1: Half Plate Challenge

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This month we’re pleased to welcome Katie Morford and her meal plans as part of our January Reset Challenge! Katie is a San Francisco-based cookbook author and registered dietitian who writes the blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m like everyone else on the block and look to January to improve my eating habits. What’s hard, though, is knowing what healthy eating really means (it’s even confusing for me, and I’m a registered dietitian).

Nutrition research seems to flip flop on the daily, with one expert advising a high-fat diet while another says vegan eating is the answer to all your dietary prayers. The truth is, not everyone will ever agree on what the “right” diet really is. And what works for you may not be exactly what works for me.

THE BASICS OF A GOOD DIET

All that being said, most nutrition experts do agree on a few fundamentals:

  • Vegetables and fruits of every color, shape, and stripe are enormously good for you and should be eaten abundantly with great variety.
  • Choosing whole foods over heavily processed ones is where it’s at.
  • From-scratch cooking adds up to healthier eating than routinely hitting the take-out or drive-thru.

As for what to cook, I’m personally a fan of whole grains, lean protein foods, plant protein sources (tofu, beans, legumes), quality dairy (hello, kefir and yogurt), and really good non-dairy foods (I’m hooked on oat milk just like everyone else).

I mostly use olive oil for cooking, and eat lots of other healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and avocados. I try to keep my wine in check (not always successfully) and when I reach for a sweet, I aim for good, dark chocolate. That’s just me.

What does healthy eating look like for you: Using the basic framework of whole foods? Lots of produce? Eating in more than eating out?

  • Need somewhere to start? Here’s what healthy eating looks like here on Simply Recipes!

“HALF PLATE” CHALLENGE

Along those lines, I’ve got a challenge for you. I call it the “Half Plate” challenge, something I started last year on Instagram. Here’s the idea:

For every meal and snack for the next week, look to fill at least half your plate with fruits, vegetables, or both. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t nail it every time. Even just once or twice a day is an excellent start.

Here are a few examples:

  • For breakfast, add a handful of baby spinach to your eggs and top your toast with banana slices.
  • Embellish your turkey sandwich at lunch with tomatoes, avocado, extra lettuce, shredded carrots, and sliced cucumber. Add a pear on the side.
  • Instead of snacking on crackers and hummus, make it carrots and hummus.
  • Swap in mushrooms for meat in your Bolognese and serve it with a heaping side of roasted broccoli.
  • If you’re craving ice cream for dessert, make it one scoop instead of two and add an equal amount of your favorite berries.

SHOW US YOUR “HALF THE PLATE” MEALS!

Take a photo of your Half Plate meals or snacks to share on our January Reset Challenge Facebook page for a chance to win a prize. Below is a Half Plate Meal Plan to get you started. I chose these recipes because they do a great job illustrating that “half your plate” eating isn’t a diet prescription. It’s a way to enjoy vibrant, delicious food that happens to be good for you.

  • Want to join the January Challenge? It’s not too late! You can sign up RIGHT HERE.
  • New to Meal Planning? Start here! 10 Things to Know If You’re a First-Time Meal Planner
  • Looking for Previous Meal Plans? Here you go!

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