Duke Dining

Balance Your Plate


Balance Your Plate is an educational campaign, sponsored by Duke Student Health and Duke Dining. This program was developed to address the how to of healthy eating at a glance. A plate that regularly reflects choices from all food groups, in moderate portions, is a practical and easy way to stay healthy and maintain the right weight for you.

A balanced plate consists of approximately 50-65% carbohydrate (vegetables, fruits, whole grains and starches), some lean protein and healthy fat, as well as some low fat dairy, if you choose. Student Health Center dietitians work closely with Duke Dining to ensure that healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout the cafes on campus..

Why is a Balanced Plate so Important?

All food groups contain foods that make unique contributions to our wellness and overall health.

Grains: Whole grains are an excellent source of the B vitamins, fiber and carbohydrates for energy. Try and choose whole grain products and vary your choices for the most benefit.

  • Look for whole wheat bread, rolls, or tortillas at deli and bread stations.
  • Experiment with different grains when you see them offered.
  • Opt for whole wheat pasta or brown rice when available.

Protein: Meats, poultry, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. But you can also get protein from milk, cheese, yogurt, beans, soy and tofu. If you do not eat meat, you should try to consume plant or other protein at each meal (nuts or nut butter, tofu or other soy protein, dairy or eggs).

Fats: Yes! Your body needs fat to function properly. Some fats are better for us than others. Fish and nuts are good sources of essential fats that enable your body to work properly.
Other sources of healthy fats can be found in olives, avocados, and heart healthy oils such as olive and canola oil.

Fruits and Vegetables: Aim to fill about 1/3 of your plate with a variety of vegetables and fruits, which provide vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and carbohydrates for energy.

Choose vegetables and fruits of varied colors to ensure you receive the benefits of different vitamins and phytochemicals (plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties.)

If you have any questions or concerns please contact a Student Health Dietitian at 919-681-9355.