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8 Tips to Plate a Healthy, Complete Meal Every Time You Eat

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Plate with lean steak, potatoes and mixed vegetables

Whether you're adjusting what you currently eat or starting an entire new plan, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services offers some tips to help put simple changes into action.

Fruits and Vegetables
Aim to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Plan on having at least one fruit or vegetable for every meal or snack.

Whole Grains
Make at least half of your grains whole. Choose brown rice, oats, 100% whole grain breads, cereals and crackers. You can easily identify whole grains at the grocery store by looking for the Whole Grains Stamp on packaging.

Eat Less
Enjoy your food, but eat less. Figure out your personal daily calorie goal and then plan your meals and snacks throughout the day within your budget. To determine your personal daily calorie goal, see a registered dietitian nutritionist or visit our website to learn about resting metabolic testing.

Small Plates
Avoid oversized portions with a smaller plate. Instead of the standard 10-inch plate, switch to an eight-inch or an appetizer-sized plate. This will help control portions without feeling deprived.

Hydrate with Water
Drink water instead of sugary drinks. The calories in beverages can add up quickly. Limit the extra liquid calories from juices, sugared coffee, soft drinks and alcohol.

Skip the Sodium
Choose foods with less sodium. Season foods with spices or herbs instead of salt. Here's a simple trick to lessen the amount of salt consumed: take the salt shaker off the table!

Make the Healthy Switch
Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk. Choose dairy products with less fat and calories while obtaining key nutrients such as calcium.

Make a Plan
Make a list of "Go, Slow and No" foods to help you stay on track. Cut back on the high fats, added sugars and salt as much as you can and as often as you can. Choose occasional treats in moderation, and enjoy your everyday foods often.

By thinking about what your plate looks like, you can get back on track. MyPlate, the United States Department of Agriculture's nutrition guideline symbol, is a visual and colorful reminder of what you should eat and serve your family every day. Ask yourself how your plate compares and make time to get it in shape!

For guidance developing a personalized eating plan, schedule a one-on-one nutrition consultation with a Cooper Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist—visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.