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Some Comments on Eating Healthy

The traditional Southern dinner during the first half of the 20th century consisted of; a protein, a starch, and two sides. The current healthy diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is one portion low-fat protein, one portion whole grain, and two portions vegetables and fruit. These ingredients are in the same ratio as the traditional meal except the protein is not fried; the starch is not white bread, white rice, or potatoes; and the vegetables are no longer cooked with bacon or fat back. Dietitians recommend guidelines for following this diet ratio by dividing your plate into quadrants; one fourth filled with low fat protein, one fourth with whole grains, and the remaining one half with a combination of vegetables and/or fruit. However, plate sizes have changed. Back in the 20th century the average dinner plate in the U.S. was between 7 and 9 inches in diameter. In Europe they still average 9 inches. The average dinner plate in the U.S. now ranges between 11 and 12 inches, with some restaurant plates measuring 13 inches. This may seem trivial, but area-wise it calculates out to more than doubling the amount of food on your plate. If this is all too much to digest, the simplest rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery and stay clear of the center. This means fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood. Exclude the processed foods high in sugar, salt, fat, and chemicals found in the center. The only exception is that whole grains, nuts, and seeds are found in the store’s center; and these constitute one of the major dietary deficiencies.

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