My Plate Theory; What your plate should really look like!


Unless you’re living on another planet, you’ve probably seen or even heard of the government’s My Plate template. It’s basically the food pyramid on a plate. I personally think it’s a big improvement from our last food pyramid touting whole grains as the common staple in the American Diet. Let’s take a closer look together at the “My Plate” template.

As you can see here, the vegetables section has been made slightly bigger than the grains section, suggesting that we fill our plates with more vegetables than grain. Good. Protein is about evened up with fruit in portion or size. Bad. I would definitely change the protein portion to be a bit bigger or at least change the fruit portion to be smaller. As far as dairy…I personally don’t think it’s necessary to have it on the My Plate at all. The benefits of dairy such as calcium and protein can be found in so many other foods. Many people have allergic reactions to dairy (over 60% of adults) and therefore, I think dairy should be an optional choice and not fixated on the My Plate template. But again…I will say it’s an improvement over the pyramid we once had. School lunches, however do not reflect this plate as this plate theory appears to look healthy. When you get government involved in the food itself, they’re going to call a hostess cupcake “whole grain” because it might have grain ingredients. They don’t consider the amounts of sugar being dumped into foods served to children (or American’s for that matter) at all.

Let’s now take a look at the IIN Plate template and see if we can spot a few differences. This plate template comes from my Health Coaching School “The Institute of Integrative Nutrition” which is the largest Health Coaching school in all the world.

IIN Plate

What we see here is basically the same categories and sizes as the My Plate theory from the governments perspective, but now we’ve taken away the dairy, added the water and healthy fats and oils such as avocado oil, olive oil, walnuts, avocados, coconut oil, seeds etc.. In addition to adding healthier staples, we now know that a balanced life will also include healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, spirituality and regular physical activity. When you’re really in-tune with yourself, you almost always let yourself know what you are needing more of in your life. For example, if I skip physical activity over and over again, after a few days (or weeks for others), it starts to catch up with me. I feel grumpy, my clothes don’t fit just right, my confidence and countenance aren’t as glowing as before, I’m short with my kids.  My mental state is out of alignment. My brain will remind me over and over again “it’s time to workout”. At that moment, I get to make a choice weather to buffer and do something else to avoid exercise, or just go out there and make it happen. While your brain reminds you of what you need to do more of in your life, it will also help you come up with excuses NOT to do that certain thing. Be aware of this and choose to do it anyway. It’s never comfortable or fun at first, but to make it habit, you need to start somewhere and keep it going.

Usually what happens when you answer whatever it is your body is needing at the time, other area’s of your life fall gently into place because you’ve taken care of one of your needs. So listen to whatever it is your brain is focusing on and make a plan to make it better.

I hope it was helpful for you to see the two Plate theory’s together. Choose something you can work on this week and go make some progress in your life!

Where are you feeling stuck right now? Post in the comments below!

Have a fabulous week!

-Heather