The Harvard Healthy Plate is, as nutrition experts from the Harvard School of Public Health explain, a guide to making healthy and balanced meals .
WHAT IS THE HARVARD HEALTHY PLATE?
The idea is to divide a plate in half and fill it with vegetables. The other half, you have to divide it again and dedicate a quarter to proteins and another quarter to carbohydrates. And keep in mind that fruit is always the best dessert.
- Half of the plate: greens and vegetables. As varied as possible, because the more color there is on the plate, the more we make sure that the diet provides a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. By the way, Harvard experts emphasize that the potato is not considered a vegetable (they just need to say that the tomato on the pizza does not count either).
- A quarter of the plate: cereals. This includes bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or legumes. And as Harvard recommends, the ideal is to opt for whole grains whenever possible.
- Another quarter of the plate: protein. Meat, fish, egg, legumes, tofu, seitan, etc.
- Dessert. It is best to opt for fresh fruit and, to a lesser extent, for fruit baked or in homemade compotes made over low heat and sweetened with cinnamon or vanilla (optionally). Also natural unsweetened yogurt (or its soy, coconut equivalents …) are a good alternative.
- About dairy. The healthy plate limits the consumption of dairy to one or two servings a day, be it milk, yogurt, kefir, etc.
- For seasoning and cooking. Vegetable oils (olive, corn, sunflower, etc.) are recommended.
🥕 DOWNLOAD THE HARVARD HEALTHY PLATE MENU
AND IF YOU ARE A VEGETARIAN, WHAT IS YOUR HEALTHY HARVARD PLATE LIKE?
The half of the dish remains for vegetables and vegetables ; a fourth, for cereals ; and the other fourth, for protein of vegetable origin : legumes, derived from soybeans (tofu, textured soybeans, tempeh …) and eggs or cheese in the case of ovolactovegetarians.
WHAT IF YOU ARE VEGAN?
The guidelines of the healthy vegetarian dish are followed but eliminating any food of animal origin such as eggs or dairy.
IT IS NOT ABOUT EATING A SINGLE DISH
Although it may seem like it, the Harvard healthy plate does not involve eating a single plate. The only important thing is to take into account the proportions of the plate. And even, even if it is a single plate, it does not have to be divided as in the drawing. You can make a vegetable stew, chickpeas and brown rice and it is as valid as a three-course menu with a large plate of assorted salad and a baked fish dessert with some potatoes.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas that fit the Harvard Healthy Plate
WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT HARVARD’S HEALTHY PLATE …
Although the Harvard healthy plate focuses mainly on what we eat, it also includes the figure of a person running to remind us that daily exercise and staying active is essential to be at a healthy weight.
WHY CHOOSE THE HARVARD HEALTHY PLATE OVER THE FOOD PYRAMID
Because it is much clearer to understand what we should eat and what not and in what proportions. For example, if we compare the Harvard healthy plate with the food pyramid of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) we see that the Harvard plate is much more visual, it is easier to see that the base of the diet is fruit and vegetable. In the pyramid we can have the false impression that they are cereals.
In addition, the Harvard healthy plate makes it clear that to eat healthy there are no foods that should be eaten in moderation, such as ultra-processed ones , because it directly leaves them out of the equation. And along the same lines, it establishes that water is the reference drink, making it clear that the acceptable alcohol consumption is 0 (or as close to 0 as possible).