Creating a Mindful Plate – Balance Over Perfection

Creating a Mindful Plate— Balance Over Perfection.
By Ursula Ridens, RDN
Nutrition Consultant, BrightQuest

Learning to notice and respond appropriately to your body’s hunger and fullness signals while slowing down to savor each bite are components of mindful eating. Certainly, enjoyment is one aspect of the eating experience however, recognizing that nourishing food is premium fuel for the body is important when making decisions about what to put on your plate. Ask yourself about the reasons behind what you’re choosing to eat will help you make more balanced and fulfilling choices.

Eating mindfully doesn’t mean eating perfectly which is the beauty in this approach. We, as humans, are imperfect so it makes sense to strive for balance over perfection. Stressing out over food isn’t good for mind or body. Here are some easy tips to boost your health through creating a mindful plate.

  • Make half your meal vegetables and fruits. Go for variety and lots of color!
  • Choose whole grains over refined most of the time. Whole grains give longer lasting energy while refined grains, like white rice and white bread, are lower in fiber and some vitamins and minerals.
  • Pick lean sources of protein, like fish, poultry, and beans while eating red meat and whole fat dairy in smaller portions and/or less frequently.
  • Healthy sources of fat (like olive and canola oils, avocados, nuts, seeds) are great for your heart health. Don’t be afraid to use them in moderation for cooking, on salad, and at the table.
  • Quench your thirst with water as your primary hydration source. Flavor water with a squeeze of lemon or orange, mint, or cucumber slices to please your taste buds.

Harvard School of Public Health offers this helpful guide to making balanced meal choices. The key is to move forward with a lifestyle-based approach that allows for flexibility, rather than following a rigid diet that can lead to feelings of deprivation.


The Healthy Eating Plate

Ursula Ridens, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in private practice in La Mesa, California. She uses a non-diet approach, teaches mindful eating strategies, and helps her clients overcome their struggles with eating disorders, emotional eating, and weight concerns. More info at

Healthy Eating Plate Graphic Copyright 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health,, and Harvard Health Publications,