With all the different diets and food fads we read about on a daily basis, it’s easy to lose track of some basic principles that contribute to vibrant, long-lasting health. Could it be as simple as creating a visual balance of food, one plate at a time? Can each plate deliver a mix of beneficial nutrients and fiber to help us avoid both acute and chronic diseases?

I believe it’s possible. Forget those detailed eating plans and let’s focus on one healthy plate of food every time you sit down to eat because each meal matters!

Create Balance

Look for a balance of proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colours, and don’t forget the benefits of added sauces and spices, packed with antioxidants. Not only will your plate look beautiful, but it will be chock full of nutrition. When you begin with this age-old tradition (for years people ate from their own gardens, and junk food didn’t exist), healthy living takes care of itself.

To make the ultimate healthy plate, here are some suggestions:

If you look carefully at the above lists, you’ll see that plants and plant-based foods show up in every section of your healthy plate. That’s because plants are uniquely capable of delivering much of what we need – nutrients, protein, and healthy fats, among other things – adding nutritional value and enhancing flavor.

One of the simplest ways to achieve a genuinely healthy plate is to add more fruits and vegetables. Not only are they tasty, but their production is easy on the planet. Also, foods from plants offer an abundance of gut-friendly microbes and an array of antioxidants (to help fight free radicals), along with a helping of enzymes, fiber, and phytonutrients. Strive for variety in your choices, and don’t get stuck on the same old, same old.

Aim for 30 different plant-based foods each week, and you’ll find that your excellent choices reward you with improved energy, strength, and stamina, not to mention giving you a greater sense of mental health and well-being.

Who knew eating well could be as simple as one healthy plate of nutritious food every time you sit down for a meal? Remember to focus on getting three-quarters of every plate filled with plants and plant-based foods, and then add a serving of protein. Use healthy fats in your cooking, and don’t forget to savor every morsel, stay grateful, and enjoy time spent in conversation with family and friends.