• HS - Healthy Plate

    By Brooke Benton, MS, RD, LDN, CDE
    Faculty, Nutrition Science, School of Health Sciences

    Do you ever get confused or overwhelmed by all of the nutrition advice that can be found from “experts,” the media, and on the Internet?  Well, you are not alone.  I want to share a very practical, easy-to-understand nutrition tool that is focused more on what food consumption habits should look like.

    The Harvard School of Public Health has created a Healthy Eating Plate, which is based on the most up-to-date nutrition research.  You may notice that the Healthy Eating Plate icon is very similar to that of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s MyPlate, but the difference is that the Healthy Eating Plate addresses some of the deficiencies found in MyPlate (Healthy Eating Plate and Healthy Eating Pyramid).

    The Healthy Eating Plate is a great guide to show you how to create a healthy, balanced meal. Let’s review the focus of the Healthy Eating Plate:


    • Consume mostly water
    • Avoid sugary drinks
    • Limit milk and dairy to 1-2 servings each day
    • Limit juice to one small glass a day

    Whole Grains

    • 1/4 of your plate should be whole grains
    • Consume more whole grains and less refined grains
    • Whole grains have been shown to have added health benefits including aiding in cholesterol reduction and blood glucose regulation (Whole Grains)
    • Examples of whole grains: whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, quinoa, and oats
    • Examples of refined grains: white bread, white rice, white pasta

    Healthy Protein

    • 1/4 of your plate should be healthy protein
    • Consume more healthy proteins such as poultry, fish, beans, and nuts
    • Limit proteins that raise the risk of chronic health conditions, such as red meat and processed meats like deli meat, bacon, and sausage


    • Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables
    • Consume a variety of vegetables, especially the more colorful, less starchy vegetables


    • Half of our plate should be fruits and vegetables
    • Consume a variety of fruits

    Healthy Oils

    • Healthy plant oils should be used in moderation
    • Choose healthy fats instead of less healthy fats
    • Health fats include olive oil, canola oil, and other plant-based oils
    • Less healthy fats include butter and trans fats

    Stay Active

    • Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy body weight, along with eating healthy food
    • Being physically active helps to prevent many chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis to name a few

    The bottom line: You don’t have to follow a “diet” to lose weight and be healthy.  It really is as simple as making healthy, high-quality food choices and following the Healthy Eating Plate!

    Brooke Benton, MS, RD, LDN, CDE isa faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. 


    Healthy Eating Plate and Healthy Eating Pyramid. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/.

    Whole Grains. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/whole-grains/.



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