The Harvard plate, the key to healthy eating


Do you want to take care of your diet at home and bet on a healthy education? Then you have to have the harvard dish, created by nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health with the goal of serving as “guide to creating healthy and balanced meals“If you thought that the food pyramid was a good guide, we warned you: you need an update. And here we offer it.


The food pyramid has become obsolete

If we call you “food pyramid”, surely you can imagine the typical pyramid that we learned as children and that was described at that time by the feeding base (at the base of the pyramid, cereals, potatoes and derivatives -bread and pasta-) and the superfluous in food (the top, sweets and fats, without differentiating the quality of the latter).

But things have changed and this pyramid has been overtaken by the Harvard plate, which illustrates the amount of nutrients that we should eat per day and is committed to the quality of the diet. If you want to bet on a good family diet, we recommend that you keep this image and these proportions well in mind at home.

The keys to the Harvard Plate

1.- Vegetables and fruit, the main protagonists. If you look at the plate, you will see that half of it is occupied by vegetables and fruits. Its creators encourage us to bet on variety and color in this food group and remind us (sorry) that the potatoes do not enter within this group. On the Harvard plate, the weight of fruits and vegetables is greater than that of the pyramid, whose base was occupied by cereals.

2.- The grains, whole. A quarter part the plate should be filled with whole grains. It is important to take into account the change that it supposes with respect to the pyramid, in which it did not clearly differentiate between refined and whole grains. The creators of the Harvard Plate tell us that “whole and intact grains – whole wheat, barley, wheat grains, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods prepared with these ingredients like whole wheat pasta – have a more moderate effect on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains. ”

3.- Protein, healthy. Another quarter of the plate is occupied by proteins, which can be of animal origin (mainly fish and chicken, and unprocessed red meat in moderation) or vegetable (legumes and nuts). The expert creators of the dish warn us: “avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausages.”

4.- The importance of quality vegetable oils. “Remember that ‘low fat’ does not mean ‘healthy’“They say on the Harvard Dish website. Because even though oil was at the top of the pyramid, in the” use little “section, hydrogenated fats (which contain unhealthy trans fats) are not the same as oils quality vegetables, such as our olive oil.

5.- To drink? Clearer, water. The expert creators of the Harvard plate are blunt: “Skip sugary drinks, limit milk and dairy products to one or two servings a day, and limit the juice to a small glass a day. “The fruit, best whole, warn nutritionists.

6.- Physical activity, another fundamental ingredient for your health. We have already talked about this in another post: The World Health Organization recommends physical activities moderate and vigorous for children 5 to 17 years to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases and improve the condition of the heart, lungs and bones. At a minimum, 60 minutes a day of “moderate to vigorous” intensity physical activity is recommended. although it is noted that “physical activity for a time greater than 60 minutes a day will report an even greater benefit for health.”

How to make family eating healthier?

If we want to make changes in the family’s diet, we will have to prevent it from becoming a source of conflict or tension. For this reason, the well-known nutritionist Julio Basulto considers that the basis of a good family diet It should be: “Set a good example (and not only with food, but with our lifestyle), respect the child’s preferences and have healthy foods at home.”

In a recent post in Cuerpomente, the nutritionist Lucía Martínez (Tell me what you eat) detailed eight small changes (here we detail six) that we can do to bet on a healthier diet:

Drink coffee (or milk with cocoa) without sugar (or with less sugar). Lucía suggests that we “lower the amount of sugar a little bit each week” that we add to these drinks.

One more fruit a day. Fruit, the nutritionist believes, “is the unfinished business of many people.” For this reason, he invites us to change the mid-morning bun or the sugary yogurt for fruit and leave it ready every day.

A new recipe with vegetables a week. Trying new recipes every week as a family opens up a wide range of flavors and gets us used to the novelty. «With only ten of them [esas recetas nuevas] become part of your regular repertoire, it will be a great improvement, ”says Lucía.

• Go to wholemeal bread.

Eat legumes one more time a week. “Changing one of the ultra-processed or meat intakes for a legume is always going to be a good idea,” he says.

Read labels. Although the ideal is to buy the least amount of processed products possible, Lucía encourages us to examine the labels of the products we buy and understand them with this guide.

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