Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

How to Create Your Plate

See how to fill your plate the healthy way

By Lara Hamilton, RD, CDE
Learn More about Eat Well America

Recipe by Ronaldo Linares; plate photography by Renée Comet

Size Matters!

The Diabetes Plate Method is based on a 9-inch-diameter plate and helps keep portion sizes in check. Plates have been getting larger over the years, so make sure you're using the right size plate.

Also, don't pile too much food on each section. If food overflows the rim of your plate, you're probably going to eat more calories than your body needs.

Fill Your Plate

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetables
Fill half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, salad, and zucchini.
>> More nonstarchy vegetables

1/4 Grain Foods/Starchy Vegetables
Fill one-quarter of your plate with whole grain or starchy foods, such as brown rice, bulgur, green peas, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat bread. Beans, which are both starchy and a good source of protein and fiber, can fit here, as well.
>> More whole grain foods or starchy vegetables

1/4 Lean Protein
Fill the remaining one-quarter of your plate with lean protein foods, such as fish, chicken, eggs, and lean beef or pork, and soy products such as tofu.
>> More lean protein foods

Fruit and/or Dairy on the Side
Add a serving of fruit, such as a small apple, or a serving of low-fat dairy, such as nonfat yogurt, or both as your meal plan allows.
>> More fruits
>> More low-fat dairy foods

Healthy Fats
Choose healthy fats in small amounts. For cooking, use healthy oils, such as olive oil. Other healthy fats that can be used in meals include nuts, seeds, and avocados.
>> More healthy fats

Note: There is no single diet or eating pattern that is ideal for everyone with diabetes. You can meet with a registered dietitian for a meal plan with eating recommendations specifically tailored for you.