50 / 50 Plate is a flexible everyday mealplan based on eating primarily low Calorie density foods and designed for weight loss and body fat reduction. It encourages you to eat mostly foods that are high in volume but low in Calories allowing you to eat more and feel more full and satisfied after each meal without actually counting Calories or watching how much you eat.
Every person eats on average between 3-5 pounds ~ 1-3 kg of food per day. The exact number is very individual. Some people will need more and others will need a lot less to feel full and satisfied. We each find our own happy total.
When we eat, our stomach sends the signal to our brain letting us know when we are full so we can stop. That doesn’t happen if we eat foods that are low in volume, even if the Calorie density of the food is very high. For example, we would feel a lot more full and satisfied if we ate 3 large bananas rather than 1 slice of banana bread. Even though the Calorie total of both is the same, the banana bread is more likely to make us feel hungrier than before and make us reach for another slice. It becomes incredibly easy to overeat on a regular basis taking in more energy than we can realistically use. As a result, we keep gaining extra body fat while feeling less full and less satisfied after eating.
Eating low Calorie but high volume foods on the other hand allows us to feel full most of the time without taking in more energy than we need or can use up.
The strategy is fairly simple. Take a plate, a large plate if you eat 2-3 meals a day or a small plate if you eat several small meals a day, and visually split it into two halves. Load one side of your plate with leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, mushrooms, fruit and berries - and the other side with whole grains, beans, legumes, starchy vegetables and tubers. That’s it. Eat until you are full and satisfied. If you still feel hungry, make another plate and eat that, too. Repeat when hungry again or snack on fresh fruit and vegetables between meals, if necessary.
High Caloric Density Foods
All high Caloric density foods should be either limited or avoided altogether on this mealplan if your goal is to reduce body fat percentage and slim down. The list of high Caloric density foods to avoid, whenever possible:
All oils and butter as well as deep fried foods;
Sugar or any sweeteners;
High fat dairy, meat and cheese;
Nut and seed butters;
Coconut and coconut oil;
If you are trying to lose weight you should also limit nuts and seeds in general, dried fruit and avocados.
It doesn’t mean you should give those things up completely, but if what you want is to reduce your fat percentage you should only eat them 2-3 times a week or on weekends. You can adjust how and when you add those foods back into your menu based on your progress. If you are not losing weight and you want to, avoid adding these foods completely for the time being and reintroduce them again, in small amounts, when you reach your goal weight.
Whole Foods Vs Processed
The closer your food to its original state, the better. So choose whole fruit and vegetables over blended and powdered. The higher the volume of the food you eat, the more full and satisfied you are going to feel after eating. The main goal of this way of eating is to feel full and happy. The more processed something is the lower its nutritional value and the higher the Calorific value of that food likely is. The exception being pasta.
How many meals a day?
This mealplan is designed for the traditional three meals a day that include breakfast, lunch and dinner but it can also work for two meals a day or five. If you eat large meals, use large plates. If you eat smaller meals but more often, use smaller plates. You eat until you are satisfied.
Can I eat pasta and bread?
In moderation, yes.
Although both are high volume foods, both are processed to a point that by the time the grain ends up on your plate there is next to no nutritional value left in it. Whenever possible, go for whole grain or alternative types of bread and pasta made out of beans and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, buckwheat and brown rice.
If your goal is to lose weight you should only eat bread and pasta 1-2 times a week. It can be more of a staple if you are trying to maintain or gain weight.
How long should I eat like this?
It depends on how you feel and whether this type of eating is working for you. This is an everyday mealplan designed to keep you nourished, full and happy.
Once you reach your goal weight you can start adding higher density foods into your menu and reintroducing oils, nuts and seeds.
You can eat like this during the week and then eat other foods on the weekends.
What about meat?
This mealplan is based on whole food plant based eating. That said, you can add meat and fish to your menu on occasion. It should take up 1/4 of the plate on the side of the starchy vegetables, beans and legumes. You should make it work for you and your lifestyle. The important thing is to feel satisfied, happy and comfortable in your own body. If you don’t feel satisfied, happy and comfortable in your own body eating this way then it’s simply not for you.
Where do I get my protein and should I supplement?
All whole grains, legumes, beans and quite a large number of vegetables are going to contain all the protein you need to stay strong and healthy. Since this mealplan is primarily focused on body fat reduction, you may not get enough to gain a lot of muscle. You can start supplementing with protein powder or adding higher density high protein foods like tofu, tempeh, yogurts and meat substitutes to your menu one you are close or have reached your body fat % goal.
So, can I eat as much as I want?
As long as you stick to the 50 / 50 plate rule and eat whole foods, yes. You literally eat until you are full. And then have another meal when you are hungry again.
Apples and bananas with oats;
Quinoa with kiwifruit;
Strawberries and pear with amaranth;
Eggplant and zucchini with rice;
Broccoli and cucumber chickpea salad;
Cauliflower pizza with mushrooms;
Black beans stuffed Sweet potato with lettuce salad;
Tofu with green beans and peas;
Roasted cabbage with rice;
Pasta with broccoli;
Pasta with green peas;
Zucchini fritters with quinoa;
BBQ mushrooms with cucumbers and rice;
Kale sweet potato salad;
Arugula beetroot chickpea salad;
Mushroom oat burgers with roasted zucchinis;
White bean salad;