I tend to cringe when I hear nutritional advice to eat less– “reduce your portion size”, “track your calories”, “restrict, restrict, restrict.”
I am not a bird. And I refuse to eat like one.
Obviously, we need to exert a little bit of self-control over some foods. For example, we can enjoy one or two little cookies instead of the entire box. Or make one trip to the buffet instead of five trips.
But the good news is that we can manage weight and promote good health by eating ample amounts of healthful foods.
Our ongoing FUEL intervention has been promoting a plate-based, low energy density diet for years. The participants find this method easy to use, satisfying throughout the day and guess what? They lose about 0.5 to 1 pound of body fat per week without ever counting a single calorie or feeling hungry. Most importantly, this method makes them feel happy because it promotes a healthy relationship with food. Just honor your hunger cues and conform your plate to the FUEL guidelines as often as possible.
Still not convinced? Check out these two photos below. Both show 1575 calories worth of food. The example on the left contains many high-energy density foods–cheeseburger, fries, chips, a cinnamon roll, and creamy sauces. Small portions of these foods contain a lot of calories. Notice that foods that are high in fat are also high-energy density.
The example on the right contains many low-energy density foods–ample amounts of vegetables and fruits with some whole grains and lean protein sources. Large portions of these foods do not contain many calories. So fill your plate high and dig in. You will most likely feel full before you have the opportunity to overeat calories. Low-energy density foods tend to be self-limiting.
Photo Source: American Institute for Cancer Research
Would you like to learn more about using a plate-based eating guide? Check out some of our resources below:
The Foundations of FUEL: Building a Healthy Plate
Meals in Minutes: Perfect when you are short on time or energy.
Example FUEL Plates: See what some of our participants were actually eating.
Easy Vegetable Sides: You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. Check out these easy vegetable sides with little to no chopping required.
Finding Whole Grains: Learn about the benefits of whole grains and easy ideas to incorporate them in intact form.
FUEL Meal Ideas When Eating Out
FUEL Meal Ideas in the Furman University Charles E. Daniel Dining Hall
Stocking a Healthy Pantry: This easy strategy will make meal time a breeze.
Recipe Corner: Over 50 printable meal ideas that fit the FUEL plate. Each has a nutrition analysis, shopping list, and tips.
Pinterest: Search over 1,000 healthy recipes with photos
Live Well Furman Blog on Pinterest: Search all of our blog recipes and meal ideas with photos