Food Pyramid to My Plate to Healthy Plate

…to my very own dinner.

So yesterday, I found this in a Kaiser email —

Pretty cool.
Dig in to smart food choicesp_govt_plate

Nutrition advice is plentiful and often confusing. But The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a tool that makes smart food choices a lot easier to make.

In 2011, it replaced its long-standing Food Pyramid with MyPlate, an illustration of a plate that shows the latest nutrition research. Half of the plate is devoted to vegetables and fruits. The other half is reserved for grains and protein, and off to the side is a small cup for dairy.

“This is a big step in the right direction,” says registered dietitian Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, a senior consultant for Kaiser Permanente Health Education. “The old diagram emphasized grains, while the new one emphasizes vegetables and fruits. That’s an important shift.”

p_food_plateYears before the launch of the MyPlate initiative, Kaiser Permanente created its own food publication: The Healthy Plate. It uses a photograph of a dinner plate, pictured at left. Healthy foods are shown in the right proportions to give nutrition guidance that can be easily understood at a glance.

“Whereas MyPlate says ‘protein,’ we show salmon, which is a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fats,” says Bartolotto. “MyPlate says ‘grains’ but we show brown rice,” because whole grains are a good source of fiber and B vitamins. The Healthy Plate also shows a generous serving of steamed carrots and broccoli—nutrient-rich, non-starchy vegetables with the added benefit of being low in calories.”

I was already thinking about grilling a piece of fish for dinner, it was such a beautiful day. Why not salmon?
I had some broccoli and carrots in the crisper, but I also had a small, lone head of romanesco. I used that instead of the carrot, since romanesco and broccoli are relatives.

Just had some risotto for dinner, so I used my fabulous Iacopi Prim Mateca beans instead. I cooked up a batch on Tuesday, just in case.

There you have it.

  • Grilled salmon with an Asian marinade and sauce.
  • Steamed broccoli and romanesco with a bit of the same sauce.
  • Beans with a few oven-dried tomatoes to kick ‘em up a notch.
MY healthy plate

MY healthy plate

It took a few years for me to learn to grill salmon properly. (But then, we only grill it two or three times a year. Might do it more often, now that I know.) Finally I found this method, and it works. (Note: Salmon was pre-cut in 8 ounce fillets, ate half for dinner, balance for next day lunch.)

From Weber’s Big Book of Grilling
Timing is Everything

Cook direct medium
Make sure the fillet is well oiled and place the fillet flesh side down first. As soon as you lay it on the cooking grate, it will begin to cling, and it will cling tighter and tighter until it has cooked enough to conveniently release its grip entirely. This is the time to turn it. Now, lots of cookbooks will tell you to grill 1-inch-thick salmon fillets for about 5 minutes on each side. Well, 5 minutes is usually not enough time for the salmon to surrender its hold. If you extend the grilling time when the flesh side is on the grate 7 to 8 minutes, the fillet will come off the hot grill easily.

To pinpoint the ideal turning time, check the salmon after about 7 minutes by very lightly gripping the fillet with metal tongs. Turn your wrist gently to lift one edge off the grate. If it is sticking, wait a minute and try again until it pulls away easily. When turned and done, slip a spatula between the flesh and skin, leave the skin on the grate and deliver your masterpiece.

Besides avoiding the hassle of stuck fish, this method, which is sometimes called “the 70/30 rule” produces deep mahogany grill marks on the flesh side, a nice presentation on the plate, and a proud chef. Enjoy.

CONDENSED VERSION… Grilled Salmon dinner
Cook Direct Medium
One inch salmon should be done in total of 10 minutes
Well oiled salmon on grill… DON’T MOVE
check at 7 minutes, turn when ready

For the sauce, I borrowed from a “Barefoot Contessa Parties!” recipe for Asian Grilled Salmon.
For the sauce/marinade:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good soy sauce
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl (I shake it in a small jar.). Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Spoon the reserved marinade over the cooked fish.

p_dinner_servedNot only healthy, but yummy.

3 thoughts on “Food Pyramid to My Plate to Healthy Plate

  1. Great stuff. We eat that way oct of the time.


  2. You’ve mastered the art of grilling salmon. I’ve recently mastered the art of poaching it. Granted, there are no grill marks for presentation sake, but it is so moist and tasty.

    Those beans look wonderful.


  3. Sometimes the MyPlate folks have photo contests – you should keep an eye out because that meal looks delicious and healthy.


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