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  • 3 solid reasons to adopt My Plate* right now

    *or something like it

    Have you heard the terms “maximizer” and “satisficer?” Probably you know plenty of maximizers, those folks who have to make sure they’re getting the absolute best of everything, and that’s why they spend 20 minutes doing research on their phone before ordering dinner, while the rest of the party sighs loudly.

    Less well known is the term “satisficer,” for those people who are aiming most of the time for “good enough.” MOST of the time. Some of the time they’re aiming for 100%, but they know that 90% of the time, 80% is good enough.

    Maximizers are the kind of people that really want to figure out the best diet, and they’re willing to spend a lot of time tinkering and experimenting and observing and examining their data. And that is a fine strategy - but only for the people who are already at 80%.

    Anyone who’s less than 80% happy with their health, their energy, their weight and their food spending could benefit hugely by adopting a good enough method of eating today.

    This 80% (it might be closer to 95%, honestly) good-enough way of eating will be hugely - I will say life-changingly - helpful if

    • The quest for the perfect way of eating is stopping you making any sustained improvements

    • You are overwhelmed and paralyzed by contradictory nutritional advice

    • You have not yet stopped bingeing. (And next week we’ll talk more about that.)

    One good enough strategy is the My Plate template. (Tons of info here.) Basically, the idea boils down to quartering your plate, and in each quadrant you put a grain, a protein, a fruit and a vegetable, respectively. You could have a serving of dairy on the side.

    I eat like this pretty much every lunchtime, every day of the week - only I make it even more simple. Half my plate is vegetables, a quarter is protein, and a quarter is a grain (or something stodgy like a potato. I think the potato is a miracle.). I don’t weigh or measure; this is a rough visual template that makes a totally satisfyingcheap as hell and and easy-to-prep meal.

    Want the receipts? Here’s a sample week:

    • 1 small pot of quinoa (~1 cup dry), lasts half a week

    • 1 small pot of rice (~1 cup dry), lasts the other half of the week

    • 1 small pot of beans (I like the scarlet runners from Rancho Gordo)

    • Bag of spinach

    • Bag of frozen cooked shrimp

    • Any chicken, fish or other meat leftover from dinners

    • 4 small sweet potatoes, bake them all at once in a cast-iron skillet

    • 2 packets of enoki or cremini mushrooms for sauteeing

    • 1 big head of broccoli

    • 1 head of radicchio or something bitter

    • 2 or 3 red, yellow or green bell peppers

    • 2 green chiles, roasted on the burner, skinned and deveined

    • 2 avocados, 1 ripe-ish and 1 green

    Any of these vegetables can be swapped out for any other vegetables, and obviously it’s best to rotate, so that you’re getting a variety of nutrients and tastes and staying in the seasons, if that’s a concern. You can prep everything in a batch, if you like. (That means a rinse and a chop, not something you need a culinary education for.) It doesn’t matter if you batch or not, because nothing here takes much time either way.

    I do make a batch of some kind of sauce like chimichurri or romesco at the beginning of the week, to keep things lively.

    And that is LUNCH: HANDLED. I work at home, but if I worked in an office, I wouldn’t need to change a thing except keeping the raw food separate from the reheatable.

    Is this the perfect diet? It is NOT. (But 1. that's the point and 2. it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a plateful of single ingredients.) Will it work for breakfast and dinner too? Not every day. Is it a comprehensive solution - the last you’ll ever need? Nope, not if you live the year out.

    But is it better than sour-cream-and-chive-flavored chips with a Lacroix chaser? Yes. By a lot.

    If you’re already doing something like this, I’d love to hear what has worked for you, and what resources you recommend.

    And here are a couple more resources for ideas:

Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.

Download now: 5 Books That Will Change the Way You Eat.