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March 1, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Get Your Plate in Shape for National Nutrition Month

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This Author

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month®? As a registered dietitian, you know I'm excited! 

Of course I'm already celebrating over here (black bean brownies for everyone!), but it's not any fun to celebrate alone so I am hoping you will celebrate with me by joining in the fun. As eating right can be a confusing topic for us all, I am grateful to see such a jovial theme being presented this year, one which builds on the recent healthy eating tool known as MyPlate. So, rather than trying to make sense of the food guide pyramid, let's take a closer look at your dinner plate. Yes, YOUR dinner plate. Or perhaps your breakfast, lunch, or snack plate...

This year's National Nutrition Month Theme is Get Your Plate in Shape and I feel it captures the essence of simplicity, I can only hope that you agree. However, this helpful tool will not work if you do not start with the right plate.

Before we get started, measure your plate. Yes, pull out your ruler and measure the width of your plate! The goal is to use a standard nine-inch plate (the circle type). This size is important to make sure the sections we create will provide you with the most appropriate serving sizes. To create those sections, follow these four steps:

  1. Now draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate.
  2. Divide one half into two equal sections.
  3. Next, divide the other half, only this time make one section slightly larger than the other.
  4. Okay, now you should have four-sections, two slightly larger than the others. 

Make sense? If you're not sure, rely on the image of a healthy eating plate provided in this post for a helpful visual. The goal of this activity is to create a healthy eating tool to help you eat right by recognizing what a balanced meal actually looks like. The very last step is to fill each of the four sections with food as each one is meant to be a place-holder for a food group: 

  1. The two equal sections become lean proteins and whole grains.
  2. The smallest section is for fruit.
  3. The largest section is for vegetables.  

By dividing your plate into four sections, you are quickly presented with a new and simple means of eating right – no matter where you are. 

Once you have a clear view of your newly segregated plate, you can truly Get Your Plate in Shape by improving the food choices within each section. Stay tuned to learn more in an upcoming blog…

Can’t wait? Visit or check out this previous blog introducing MyPlate. 

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

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