The basic daily habit of putting together a healthy plate is vital to good health. With so many Americans suffering from poor health, exercise is a the forefront of many people's minds - but even more important is making poor food choices.

Think of your plate in thirds. One third is protein: fish, poultry, pork, beef, eggs, dairy, nuts and beans. A simple way to remember this rule is any animal product + nuts and beans. The second third should consist of starchy carbohydrates: beans, sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, quinoa, whole grain rice, pasta, bread, and cereal. The final third includes vegetables and fruits.  

How much of each should you eat? First of all, serve your meals on a salad plate - you will eat less. For each third of your plate, serve about a handful, palm or fist size of food. No seconds. Now you are thinking, "But what if I am still hungry?" No problem - eat a salad, fruit salad or fruit and even all three if you like. The salad and/ or fruit is water- and fiber-dense and will satiate you and continue to nourish you. Salad and fruit also serve as necessary ruffage to clean your digestive tract and prevent colon cancer.

When possible, purchase products that are local, organic, antibiotic-free and in season. This is best for your health and for the environment. In season, local produce is more nutrient dense and tastes better. Don't forget to consume a variety from each group. The more variety and color, the more overall nutrients you will deliver to your 300 billion cells.  

Make your home a sanctuary of healthy foods! No processed junk foods in the house. And when it comes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other parties. Enjoy these festive times! There are 365 days in a year and the 20 or so holidays and parties are not the cause of our health problems. So take these simple tips, enjoy a great plate of food and improve your health.

To your health!