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Size of waist often correlates to plate circumference

Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
Size of waist often correlates to plate circumference

While visiting family in Texas this summer, I discovered some things are bigger there, such as the plates and bowls in mom’s cupboards. The plates were at least a foot across, with no rim.

We’ve all seen these bargain-priced plates available at big box stores. They’re quite colorful and popular. But honestly, big plates do encourage big portions. Especially of that yummy, Texas smoked barbecue.

As a nutrition educator, I’m happy with the recent decision of the USDA to get rid of the “My Pyramid,” which was supposed to teach the average American about making healthy food choices. The adoption of “My Plate” is a reminder of what each meal should consist of. The website,, offers good advice for those wanting to improve the quality of their diet, or hoping to drop a few pounds.

Included in the recommendations are to avoid oversized portions and cover half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. While stocking your cupboards with inexpensive, small plates will help with portion control, I recently ran across a plate designed to take the guesswork out. Dietitians created a line of plates called “Precise Portions,” A stylized vine design divides dinner plates into sections, with half reserved for vegetables and fruits, a quarter for starchy vegetables and a quarter for proteins. Also, at 10 inches in diameter, the plate is smaller than most dinner plates.

Dieters spend money and energy to lose weight by purchasing diet books recommending a specific amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat, or even worse, total elimination of innocent foods, such as potatoes, carrots or skim milk. They buy expensive supplements, protein powders, and meal replacements. With the price of groceries, just eating less will save you money.

While common sense meals aren’t as sexy as protein powders or supplements, they are easier to make a long-term commitment to. Following the general guideline of eating more fruits and veggies, whole grains and a moderate amount of lean protein ensures you will perform at your peak and maintain a healthy weight. Well-prepared and seasoned food tastes great.

This pesto recipe is an example of how to use a green leafy to season with. I made a huge quantity of this recipe after harvesting my basil. My garlic was harvested in July and ready for the union. I scooped the pesto with an ice cream dipper onto cookie sheets, and placed in the freezer. Once frozen, the balls were then popped into a freezer bag and taken out to use as pizza sauce, in pasta dishes, sauces, vegetables and on fish and chicken.

1 cup fresh basil leaves or tender stems
1- 3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts or pecans
3- 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Finely chop ingredients in food processor

1/3- ½ cup olive oil
Add and process a little more, until a thick paste is made.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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