Half of Your Plate Should Be Vegetables

Dried Cranberry Salad with Chicken and Feta

One of the first big sets of changes in daily diet for people who are seeking lifestyle change should involve portion and proportion.  Portion simply means carefully tracking and usually reducing the amount of food that is consumed each day.  Nutritionally, four ounces of good quality protein are all that is necessary to maintain protein balance in the average body per day.  This does not apply to body builders or very athletic individuals, as their requirements to build muscle are more than that of the average weight-loss candidate.  Most entrees served in restaurants and even frozen entrees exceed this by more than a fair margin.  Ever sit down to an entire rack of baby back ribs, or a 12 ounce steak?

Psychologically, it is not easy to just reduce how much one eats with no other changes, as the mind and body note the shortfall.  Sometimes, this is easier if a protein or entree course is reduced and replaced by salad or other vegetables.  It also is sometimes easier if the style or types of entrees are changed as well.  Another tactic is to reduce the size of the plates in the house in order to fool the eye.  In combination, these techniques can help to alter portion sizes and help to increase the proportion of vegetables, as they should take up half the plate.  

One thing to note is that if hunger becomes a problem while seeking a better diet, salad greens and other green vegetables such as broccoli are pretty much an unlimited food item, in that there is no diet plan or nutritionist that will limit those things as long as they are not being flooded with cheese, salad dressings, or carbohydrate heavy croutons. Lettuces, kale, spinach, and the like are great food items to use to fill hunger pangs.   It's great to eat them before tackling the main meal.


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