Beth Blair, a MOVE! Dietitian, dives into the first episode of a six-part series on eating a healthy plate. She sets the stage and gives advice for keeping it simple.

Good habits

As dietitians with the VA, our job is to help take the mystery out of good nutrition habits. We want to make it as simple as possible for you to make the healthy choices you need to reach your nutrition and lifestyle goals. And it’s with that goal in mind that we are going to be taking a deep dive into a personal meal planning tool called the Healthy Plate.

Put very simply, the healthy plate is a visual guide that shows what types of foods, and how much of each type, you should eat at each meal, using the space on a standard 9-inch dinner plate as our guide. You separate each circular plate into four equal quadrants, like four pieces of a pie. So at each meal, all you really need to do is focus on filling half of your plate, or two of those four quadrants, with non-starchy vegetables. Then quadrant three you will want to fill with grains, beans, or starchy vegetables, and quadrant four with minimally processed meats or other proteins. And that’s it.

For example if you plan to have pork chops for tonight’s meal, that would be your protein source. You would have a 4-6 oz baked pork chop,  add a ½ baked potato for a starch/carbohydrate section, and add some cooked broccoli or mixed veggies to fill ½ your plate complete the healthy plate model.

Smaller plate

In our MOVE! program, at the VA we teach our Veterans to utilize a 9-inch plate. So that could be your goal for the next meal to use a smaller plate.

We want to review these simple guidelines so you can plan a meal that you can be confident will move you one step closer to your fitness and nutrition goals.


Beth Blair, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She serves Veterans out of the Evansville Healthcare Center within the Marion VA Health Care System.

Share this story

Published on Jul. 7, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.8 min.

Views to date: 265


  1. Mimi Marylon Moore Routh July 14, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Yes, keep it simple! I decided to stop trying to please men or anybody and just eat for wellness and long life. I had no idea how much protein I needed. I began logging my food and my life. I wanted more sugar when I was upset! I was about 230, size 3X, not tall enough for 230! We get free food where I live. I grab eggs and yogurt, good bread, and I hurry past the brownies! My pants get tight just walking past! I told someone “I’m trying to get under 190!” Now I’m size L or XL, almost a 16 and in the 180’s. [We all move forward in a perfectly straight zig-zag! — Ziggy] Fresh fruit and veggies are like money in the bank. And every new weight level just feels better and better. I surely have 50 pounds to go, but I am not focused on a goal — only on walking the walk. So many women can’t be happy until they are “skinny and gorgeous”!!! I am vegetarian. Lunch today is cottage cheese and blueberries. Tonight: salad and edamame pasta with pesto and hard-boiled eggs. Yum! USAF 1964-69

  2. Anna Sittig July 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Love the healthy plate methods.

  3. Jack Disraeli July 9, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Perhaps whenever a Veteran visits a VA facility he or she will be informed of the best diet to have.

  4. Jack Disraeli July 9, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Important and necessary information.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Learn about the many benefits of eating breakfast. Here are fast, healthy and easy breakfast ideas.

  • PTSD Bytes: Host Pearl McGee-Vincent discusses PTSD and relationships with Dr. Leslie Morland and Dr. Kayla Knopp, clinical and research psychologists.

  • A lack of public awareness about MST leaves gaps in our national discourse. Dispelling myths can help survivors know they are not alone and connect them to resources.