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Publication #FCS8796

Healthy Eating: Create Your Plate!1

Jennifer Hillan and Linda B. Bobroff2

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Meal planning can help you control portion sizes and the amount of carbohydrates you eat throughout the day. This is especially important if you have diabetes or if you are at risk for the disease. The way you “create your plate” to balance carbohydrates for blood glucose control is a bit different from the MyPlate recommendations. Let's get started!

You Will Need...

A 9-inch plate (measure your salad or dinner plate)

A bowl to hold ½ cup of fruit

A bowl to hold 1 cup of soup or cereal

Fill Your Plate With...

½ plate = non-starchy vegetables like green beans, carrots, salad greens, broccoli or cauliflower

¼ plate = whole grains or starchy vegetables

¼ plate = meat, fish, poultry, legumes or eggs

Figure 2. 

Using a plate that is nine inches in diameter can help you control your portion sizes.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Add to Your Plate...

Small piece of fruit (or ½ cup cut-up fruit) and 1 cup of low-fat or fat free milk or yogurt

Trading Servings

Fruit, grains, and milk have about the same effect on blood glucose levels, so you can occasionally trade these foods for each other. For example, if you don’t want fruit for breakfast, have another piece of toast. Or, trade your toast for another cup of milk But remember that it’s important to eat foods from all food groups to get the vitamins and minerals you need each day!

Here Are Some Ideas to Get You Started!



What about Snacks and Desserts?

If you want a snack, you can save your fruit or dairy serving to have between meals. If you want a small dessert, trade it for your fruit. Don’t do this often, though. Desserts usually are high in sugar and calories!



This document is FCS8796 (la versión en español de este documento es Alimentación saludable: Organice su plato (FCS8796-Span)), one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 2006. Revised August 2011. Reviewed September 2018. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.


Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, former ENAFS nutrition educator/trainer; and Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RDN, professor; Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.