The plate method teaching tool is a great concept but often I found clients still at a loss of “what to eat.” This tool takes the plate one step further and offers translation from concept to food using common food photos. Initially I used this tool in a group class (where education and literacy ranges varied). It allows for open ended questions and allows for each client to fill in the pages and learn from one another as well as the RDN in the group setting. I and other RDNs have used this tool in 1:1 counseling with much success. ┬áThis product can be used gradually over multiple visits or all at once depending on the needs of the client.

Each page has a teach-back or assessment question example.

  • Pg 1 introduces the food groups and asks “which of these food groups contain carbohydrate.” This allows the client to demonstrate they understand the content and allows the RDN to assess learning and engagement before moving on.
  • Page 2 introduces the Balanced plate, again asking the client to name off the food groups containing carbohydrate and the food groups that do not, taking it one step further. This page also introduces food portions as well as the “handy-guide” (use of hand parts for portion estimates) for portions.
  • Pg 3, 4 & 5 provide B,L & Dinner plate examples + assessment questions utilizing the plate graphic & pictures. Each meal asks how many carbohydrate grams or choices (whichever you teach).

Each page also offers gentle education that goes along with that page.

  • Pg 3 (breakfast) mentions including fiber at each meal and reminds where fiber can be found. The RDN can then go further into fiber and ask the client “which foods on this plate have fiber?”.
  • Pg 4 (Lunch) suggests fiber rich ideas for easy lunch options (whole grain), and encourages a piece of fruit for a sweet ending
  • Pg 5 (Dinner) introduces free foods and uses some in the meal example (a way to ask another open ended question to check for comprehension by asking the client to identify the “free food” in the meal example).
  • Pg 6 (Combination foods) introduces the concept of combo foods and provides very basic serving sizes for common combo food (soup, pizza, casserole).
  • Pg 7 (Blank plate) a great way to use foods the client is familiar with and demonstrate how to fit that into the plate. The education piece on this page encourages the client to simply think of foods they already eat and the see where that fits on the plate, what they may need to add or subtract from the meal.
  • Pg 8 (Snacks) Gives an overview of what makes a healthy snack (fiber rich carbohydrate + protein + healthy fat) and relates snack to activity level. There are 7 snack picture examples and blank lines for custom snack ideas.

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