Dieta del piatto unico: cos’è e come funziona

Single Plate Diet: A Guide by Harvard

The single plate diet is a nutritional regimen based on the consumption of balanced meals, served and conceived as a single plate perfectly balanced, with optimal quantities of macronutrients and micronutrients.

This means moving away from our typical Italian conception of first and/or second courses to embrace a philosophy where the meal is composed of varying and balanced proportions of complex carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals, proteins, and fats.

To be healthy, it must be supported by proper hydration with water and staying active through sports or simply long walks, maintaining a non-sedentary lifestyle.

Single Plate Diet: What to Eat (According to Harvard)

This diet was promoted by none other than a team of nutritionists and scientists from Harvard's School of Nutrition, the famous American university.

They created a now-famous infographic that defines how the so-called Healthy Eating Plate should be organized: the single plate should be divided mainly into vegetables and grains, preferably whole grains, these two components occupying more than half of the total.

Smaller parts of the plate are occupied by fruits and healthy proteins, the latter preferably plant-based.

Thus, all kinds of vegetables and fruits are allowed, choosing them by color to always vary and ensure a complete intake of all necessary vitamins and minerals.

Regarding grains, excellent choices include rice, oats, farro, and pseudo-cereals like quinoa: these complex carbohydrates can provide energy and give the brain its essential glucose reserve without raising blood sugar levels too much.

For proteins, one of the best sources according to Harvard is legumes: plant-based proteins are preferable to animal ones.

Finally, a note on hydration – drinking plenty of water, of course – and on dressings: small amounts of good fats, particularly olive oil, are allowed.

Benefits and Contraindications of the Single Plate

The single plate is a solution that supports the sense of satiety and a balanced nutrient intake. It was designed with the goal of gradual and controlled weight loss, so generally, the calories of each plate are designed to ensure a caloric deficit for those who consume them.

The benefits are, therefore, the possibility of eating tasty and filling meals, with healthy and light foods that provide the body with all necessary substances.

The downside is related to quantity; constant caloric deficit is unsustainable for many people. In that case, just increase the portions while still maintaining a balanced single plate.

Another downside could be the sustainability of this dietary style in the long term and in social situations since it excludes some foods. However, flexibility is key: a richer dinner with friends won't ruin the overall health levels achieved with consistently healthy eating.

For further reading:

Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate

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