Author | Sarah Koszyk March is National Nutrition Month and the celebrating theme is “Get Your Plate In Shape.” The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently changed the old school food pyramid which showed Americans portion sizes of the different food groups into a revised version called, MyPlate. The plate is a better representation of how people should eat and fill-up their plate versus the old version containing a confusing pyramid.

Now to celebrate our nutritional health, let’s talk about how we can get the sexiest plate around.

#1. Buy fine china plates (about 9 inches in complete diameter; with a 7.5 inch eating area after the rim). Eating on nice plates will reduce your portions because some fiestaware can be extra huge (like 12 inches in diameter) resulting in eating extra big portions.

#2. Fill up half your plate with vegetables. Get your colors on! A great way to incorporate a variety of colors in 1 sitting is to roast a huge batch of veggies and then eat it throughout the week. Remember: the more colors you eat, the better opportunity you’ll have to get the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs.

A quick roasting guide: 450° Bake for 35-40 minutes. In a roasting pan, add in cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, red onion, red peppers, green peppers, yellow squash, and eggplant. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt & pepper & any herb you like (I enjoy switching it up with Italian flat-leaf parsley, basil, cilantro, or rosemary). After it’s cooked, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you’ve got a feast.

#3. Fill up a quarter of your plate with some form of grains/starches. Don’t just settle for the basics, get exotic and colorful. We want some pizzazz. Try sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, amaranth, quinoa, bulgur, black or wild rice, lentils, black beans. And the list goes on and on. Also, with the extra color, your plate is looking great while you are getting more antioxidant health.

#4. Your final quarter of your plate should have your protein. Some of the above grains and starches do provide you with protein sources, such as beans and quinoa. Nevertheless, poultry, fish, tofu, pork, beef, buffalo, lamb, and eggs will also do the trick.

#5. Make the atmosphere right and set that romantic night (even if you’re eating for 1, you can still treat yourself). Pull out the cloth napkins, placemats, candles, and truly dine in comfort. Eating in a luxurious environment helps us to feel like we are special and every night can be lavish.

Enjoy your food now that your plate is in super shape.

Happy Nutrition Month! Let’s make this plate standard last all year round.

Sarah Koszyk is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at MV Nutrition and Eating Free where she coaches her clients to reach their successful weight goals. She was the recipient of Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 and Recognized Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Contact Sarah today to set up your free consultation.