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The Healthy Plate and the Bulky Plate


Wouldn’t you like to be able to judge of the quality of a meal at a glance, whether you are in a restaurant or at home? Or be able to know if you are eating the right proportions for each food group? The healthy plate (for weight loss and maintenance), and the bulky plate (for weight gain and active people) are two simple and colourful meal models that provide just enough calories to meet your requirements, while helping you reach your weight objective.

What do they look like?
Ideally, we should eat a healthy or a bulky plate for each meal, i.e., three times a day. If we feel hungry or if we have greater needs, we can add one or a few snacks throughout the day (see my article “Snacks “For Dummies””). If you leave food on your plate during a meal, it is also possible to eat it on your next snack.
Here is what these two models should look like:


Healthy plate proportions


Bulky plate proportions


Foods examples







Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables, leafy vegetables…







Bread, bagel, English muffin, tortillas, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, gruel…


Meat and alternatives





Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, peanut butter…




1 serving
(side dish)


1 serving
(side dish)


125 ml 100 % pure juice, 125 ml fruit pieces, or 1 whole fruit


Dairy products


1 serving
(side dish)


1 serving
(side dish)


250 ml milk or fortified soy beverage, 175 ml yogurt or kefir, or 50 g cheese


Fats and sugar


5 to 15 ml


5 to 15 ml


Oil, dressing, margarine, mayonnaise… or white sugar, honey, syrup, jam…



Advantages of both models
The beauty of these models is that once they become familiar, they can be useful in many situations outside home:

  • At the restaurant, practice building your own healthy or bulky plate with the items available on the menu. For example, at a restaurant, you can choose a sandwich (starch, meat), a salad as side dish (vegetables, fats), a small carton of milk (dairy products), and apple slices dipped in a little bit of caramel (fruit, sugar).
  • At the buffet, build your servings according to the proportions of the healthy or the bulky plate. If you have the habit of eating two plates, choose a smaller-sized plate and apply the healthy plate model twice rather than once.
  • At the grocery, your cart should also have the same proportions as your healthy or your bulky plate. This way, you will be sure to have most of your nutrients for the week, without allowing in too many products that are very fat or sweet (soft drinks, candies, chocolate, pastries, etc.).

In short, either with the healthy plate or with the bulky plate, there are plenty of options. These models can become precious allies in a weight loss or weight gain process! Try them!

By Vanessa Martin

Vanessa Martin

A newcomer to Nautilus Plus, Vanessa Martin holds a degree in nutrition from the Université de Montréal and is a member in good standing of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec. She also works in the hospital setting and loves to blog in her spare time. Passionate and versatile, Vanessa plans on enhancing her knowledge in the field of psychology with an eye to better guiding and motivating the habit-changing endeavors of her clients. Member of a running club, she enjoys taking part in the competitions organized in her area. Vanessa is currently training for a 21 km race and would like to run her first marathon!

The Healthy Plate and the Bulky Plate is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © I'm taking charge 2012

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