Diets rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains not only help prevent hypertension from developing, but also have been found to lower blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg if you do have high blood pressure. Does this mean that you have to stop eating all your favorite foods? Not at all! By focusing on improving eating patterns in your day-to-day meals, you can still include foods that you enjoy eating while supporting good health.
What does that eating pattern look like in real life? Enter the Brook Healthy Plate. The Brook Healthy Plate method utilizes a “plate model” to help us think about each meal in a simple and visual way. Using it to build meals takes the guesswork out of good nutrition. If you are able to make most of your meals resemble the Brook Healthy Plate, you are on the path to better blood pressure.
So, can a meal fit into the Brook Healthy Plate model without perfectly fitting into the sections shown? Of course! The healthy plate model is a visual guide, not a rule-book! It simply helps us visualize proportions of food types in order to create balance and consistency, without requiring us to break out the measuring cups or scales!
Filling ¼ of your plate with high protein foods makes sure that you get enough protein, but not too much at the expense of other nutrients. Protein helps with satiety, blood sugar regulation, and maintaining muscle, but our bodies can only use so much at a time, and the rest goes to waste. On average, Americans get about twice the amount of protein they need.
Carbs should fill up to ¼ of the plate. Choose carbs that contain fiber to help with digestion, satiety, and blood sugar regulation.
Unsweetened or calorie-free drinks are best. And no, we don’t mean diet soda Try water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, etc. Trying to kick a soda habit? Check out our tips for reducing sugary beverages here.
Use a 8 to 10 inch plate, and don’t heap the food! This creates automatic portion control when following the Brook Healthy Plate method.
Next week we’ll cover how sodium affects blood pressure, what foods are highest in sodium, and how to counteract the effects of sodium by boosting potassium in the diet.
on August 13, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.