Fresh Focus #2: Healthy Plate Method – Fill Your Plate with Color


Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lauren Hocking gives her top 10 tips on getting in those non-starchy colorful vegetables. In this episode of Fresh Focus, Hocking encourages you to fill up your plate!

So often when we think about eating healthier or getting to a healthier weight or lowering blood sugars, much of what we hear is “cut back on this” or “eat less of that.”

There is a category of foods we all need to focus on eating more of. That category of foods is non-starchy vegetables. In the healthy plate planning method, we shoot for filling half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables.

Non-starchy vegetables have much lower carbohydrate content than starchy vegetables (think potatoes, corn, beans, etc), have a ton of inflammation- and disease-fighting vitamins and minerals and fiber, and are very low in calories. So, what are some examples of non-starchy vegetables?

  •        Broccoli
  •        cauliflower
  •        green beans
  •        peppers
  •        spinach
  •        kale
  •        asparagus
  •        cabbage
  •        cucumbers

Americans’ dietary guidelines recommend 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. But in this situation, the more the better! A serving is considered 1 cup raw vegetables or ½ cup cooked vegetables.

10 tips and tricks for increasing your intake of non-starchy vegetables:

  1. Stack sandwiches high with veggies.
  2. Veggies as an appetizer.
  3. Mix cooked veggies into your scrambled eggs/omelets or potatoes.
  4. Buy fresh raw veggies for snacking.
  5. Mix cooked, chopped veggies into any starch-based side dish.
  6. Try veggie-based recipe swaps.
  7. Mix chopped veggies into meats like hamburgers, meatballs, or meatloaf.
  8. Add veggies to your pizza.
  9. Experiment with new veggies.
  10. Try roasting veggies! Or any new way to cook vegetables.

Tune into our podcast episode on non-starchy vegetables for more information on these 10 tips and tricks and more ways to increase your non-starchy vegetable intake to make your plate healthier!

Non-starchy vegetable list

15 ways to increase veggie intake hand out from website

How to cook veggies handout from website 

Lauren Hocking, RD, CD, is registered dietitian nutritionist serving Veterans out of the Vincennes, Indiana CBOC within in the Marion VA Healthcare System.


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  1. Mark Raymond    

    If I can’t download then I can’t listen. I have no internet and must go to a public library to access the net.

  2. Jess Loya    

    What about tomatoes as one of the vegetables from my garden?

  3. Raymond Pfaff    

    I really liked the information, thank you.

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