Healthy Eating Plate Ideas: Helping Each Other Develop Healthy Meals

Hosted by Heidi Hoerman
Group active since Sat, Jul 25, 2015

“Healthy Eating Plate Ideas” is a place for us to share ideas, pictures of meals, questions, etc., to help us plan healthier meals for ourselves and our families without giving up flavor or jumping on the latest diet bandwagon. None of us is an expert but together we can build better menus!

The “Nutritionsource” website from Harvard’s School of Public Health tries to give up-to-date information about healthy eating in a clear format. Their “Healthy Eating Plate” is a graphic framework for a healthy diet.

In its simplest form, a healthy plate is half vegetables and fruits, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter lean protein. The “Healthy Eating Plate” graphic gives more details about healthy eating and the “Nutritionsource” website provides expert and constantly updated explanations.

Heidi Hoerman
Jul 26, 2015

A bigger view of the Healthy Eating Plate Image & a link

Click the link above to go to the source. Click on the image below to see a bigger image but stay here.

View photo

Heidi Hoerman
Aug 5, 2015

Whole grain update -- easy cooking method -- just bake it

I loathe standing over a bowl of boiling brown rice, bulgur, etc, I'm a devotee of set-it-and-forget-it cooking. Alton Brown's oven brown rice is now my gold standard for easy whole grain cooking and I've been adapting it for the new stash of whole grains.

Alton Brown's method is to put 1 1/2 cups brown rice in a square glass baking dish, add 2 1/2 cups of boiling water or stock, and bake, covered with foil for 1 hour. This results in a perfect batch of rice every time -- no scorching, no boiling over or boiling dry. Easy peasy.

If one can do this with rice, why not with farro, freekeh, etc.? Well, indeed it does work. Adjust the time to 30 minutes for cracked grains and 1 hour for whole grains. Use the amount of water given on the bag of grains for stove top cooking. Let the covered pan or dish sit outside the oven, covered, for 10-15 minutes after baking to allow the steam to continue to loosen any grain that may have stuck to the edges.

Bulgur is an exception since it is already par-cooked. Just pour boiling water or stock over the bulgur and let soak two hours. It will be soft and ready to eat cold or hot. This is especially convenient for making tabbouli and other cold salads.

Heidi Hoerman
Jul 30, 2015

An embarassment of whole grain riches has arrived

My whole grain stash was reduced to a 5-grain oatmeal mix, rye flakes, brown rice, and bulgur. To make whole grains interesting enough for inclusion in just about every supper, I needed some things to experiment with. A shopping splurge among the cereals and grains on the Bob's Red Mill site has me happily playing with a box of goodies and looking up recipes.

Basically, whole, cracked, or rolled grains can be cooked with hot water or broth until they swell and are soft -- the amount of time varies. Most of them can be cooked in the microwave for simple whole-grain breakfasts. I will mostly adapt the oven-rice method because I hate watching a pot boil.

Whole grains can replace rice in many recipes. Smaller or crushed grains can be used like grits or polenta. Rolled ones can be made into a savory risotto-like dish. (If you haven't had oatmeal mushroom "risotto" you have a treat in store.) Many of them can also be formed into patties and, of course, baked goods. Some are a complete protein source all by themselves. For others, add beans and you have a complete protein.

Here's what's in my new collection:
-Rolled spelt (an ancient form predating today's wheat)
-Farro (a grain of ancient Rome that was used like rice)
-Cracked freekeh (unripe/green durum wheat that's toasted and cracked)
-Kasha (whole, roasted buckwheat)
-Brown Rice Farina (brown rice smashed to smithereens)
-Creamy Buckwheat (buckwheat smashed to smithereens)
-Amaranth (Aztec staple that is a complete protein)
-Teff (traditional grain of Ethiopia)

So, add that to our 5-grain oatmeal, the rye flakes, bulgur, and the brown rice and we are probably set for whole grains until Christmas!

Heidi Hoerman
Jul 29, 2015

A main-dish/one-dish-meal salad that fits the Healthy Eating Plate

There's a salad in the fridge for supper tonight. This will prevent us from buying sandwich-makings for supper during today's grocery run.

To make the salad fit HEP, I first filled a big salad bowl to at least 1/2 with romain, cilantro, parsley, red bell pepper, and summer squash. Then in went a pile of bulgur wheat to make up the whole grain quarter. Finally, a can of white beans and some shaved parmesan made up the protein quarter.

The dressing is a big dollop of whole grain dijon mustard, the juice of 1 lemon and 2 clementines, and some olive oil. I find adding the clementines cuts some of the lemon's tartness so I don't need any honey in the dressing.

Heidi Hoerman
Jul 27, 2015

Mindfulness, supper quandaries, and the Healthy Eating Plate

Some progress toward healthy eating is better than none, right? Tonight, we're having Trader Joe's mahi-mahi burgers (a suitable lean protein quarter) on freshly made white Italian bread (no whole grains there, sigh -- just white carbs -- but what delicious carbs!) A little lettuce on a sandwich does not a half-a-meal of veggies make. So, with the HEP in mind, I'm going to make a big salad for the fruit and veggie half of the meal rather than add potato oven fries or chips -- and I'm going to make the salad FIRST, before I made the sandwiches! No excuses.

Tonight's in-front-of-the-TV snack with emphasize the missing whole grains -- yogurt with frozen pineapple bits and oatmeal thrown in sounds like just the ticket.

Heidi Hoerman
Jul 27, 2015

Last night's mini-disaster

Best laid plans, eh? Well, I had the food all out to make a big salad of brown rice, lots of veggies, and feta cheese. I laid everything out on the counter in the shape of the healthy eating plate -- with the feta as the protein (not the best choice but so be it).

I grabbed the camera expecting to take a shot of the ingredients laid out and a shot of it all together in a bowl for a salad that pretty much met the plate criteria -- and what did my camera say to me? CHARGE BATTERY. Grrrr.

The salad was delicious. The battery is now charged but the salad is long gone.

Carol Junkins
Jul 27, 2015

Great Group to join !!!

We all need to eat healthier now ~~~~~ we would all feel so much better as well ! I know I will love checking out the recipes !

Joey Wolf
Jul 27, 2015

what a great idea for a group

we are trying to eat healthier, mostly by portion control. i've always planned meals around the meat too. i'm not big on fruit....but partly, I've discovered I don't care for it temp is more to my liking, except for melon, pineapple and strawberries, those I like cold!

we have also been using smaller plates.....the 12 inch dinner plate is just too much food! and of course we prefer the fatty/carbs over the lean/

have you tried Dream Fields Pasta? it is a high fiber/low carb pasta.......we like it SO much better than the whole wheat pasta and I cannot cook brown rice enough to get it past the gritty stage......although the 90 sec. packets aren't too bad

my son's sister-in-law is a registered dietitian, who preaches whole foods, and NO food is off limits, but some should be limited in quantities. she also says to listen to your body, if it's craving a food, saturate yourself with it, there is something your body needs in it. she also tells us to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues.......something those of us raised in the clean plate club, tend to ignore.

have a wonderful day.