How to use the Healthy Eating Plate

I get clients to use the Healthy Eating Plate a lot. And a common question I get asked is “How do I use the Healthy Eating Plate?”

Healthy Eating Plate
Healthy Eating Plate

One of the simple ways I get them to use it is like this:

  1. Look at the next meal on your plate.
  2. Map the different foods onto the Healthy Eating Plate categories below:
    • Fruit
    • Vegetable
    • Healthy protein
    • Wholegrains
    • “Treats”
  3. See if there are foods missing from your meal, or if the proportions are way out.
  4. Decide how you can improve your meal the next time you make it.

It is as simple as that! Of course, there are other ways it can be used, and depending on the person and the situation, I might use different methods, but the above steps work for most of the people, most of the time.

Fruit and Veg

Hopefully these should be faily obvious. We all could benefit from plenty of different fruit and veg. The more variety, the better. When I was learning this stuff, I was told a line that has stuck with me all this time:

“No one has ever gotten fat from eating too much fruit and veg… so tuck in!”

Fresh, frozen, whizzed in a blender… I don’t care, as long as it gets in your belly.

Healthy protein

The protein we eat is used to build and repair our own bodies. To get an excellent idea of protein, click here to the clever people at Harvard for more.


Wholegrains give us energy and importantly, fibre. Again, see what Harvard has to say about them here.


I put everything that doesn’t belong in the above categories, in the “treats” pile. Nothing wrong with treats, but they are not nutritionally needed in our meals. Because of this, if you are looking to cut back on your calories, these are the foods that you should look at first.