How is the “Harvard diet” and what healthy dishes do the experts recommend?

The food paradigm has changed and evolved as we become more aware of what is healthy and what is not thanks to scientific advances related to health.

Thus, in addition to our personal doctor, medical associations, patient NGOs and also from the academic field through universities, and public welfare entities, periodically point out the parameters and rules to have good quality nutrition.

An example of this is the “Harvard diet”, which is actually the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, and can be used as a guide to “create healthy and balanced meals”, according to “The Nutrition Source”, a section of the Harvard site which provides recommended nutritional information.

Building a healthy and balanced diet
Make the most of the vegetables and fruits in your meal: they should make up half your plate. The more mixed vegetables, the better and healthier your plate will be.

A key to this is to look for different colors and variety. One caveat: Potatoes and French fries do not count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate due to their negative impact on blood sugar and also the oil buildup they have when fried.

Choose whole grains: this food should make up ¼ of your plate Whole, intact grains (whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods made from them, such as whole wheat pasta) have an effect milder on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

The Harvard diet specifies the type of grains that should be eaten.

The plan strongly encourages eating whole grains, as opposed to refined ones.

“Whole grains have a lot more vitamins and also phytochemicals and minerals, which is much healthier for us and won’t spike our blood sugar as quickly,” said Lilian Cheung, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Some whole grains that you should consider are:


  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Whole wheat (including whole wheat bread and pasta)
  • Brown Rice Protein Power: The other ¼ of your plate should be packed with protein that can be based on fish, poultry, beans, and nuts, which are healthy and versatile protein sources. They can be mixed into salads and pair well with vegetables.
  • Red meat and processed meats such as ham and sausage should be limited.
  • Some healthy proteins are:
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • chauchas
  • Nuts Regarding healthy vegetable oils, these should be eaten in moderation. Choose healthy vegetable oils like olive, canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, peanut and others, and avoid partially hydrogenated oils, which contain unhealthy trans fats. Instead, Cheung recommends opting for healthier options like:
  • Olive
  • canola
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Sunflower
  • Peanuts (unless you are allergic) Drinking water, coffee or tea can be a good option to avoid sugary drinks. Milk and milk products as an adult should also be limited to one or two servings per day, as should juices. Cheung said that for years it was recommended to drink three cups of milk a day. But this “did not seem prudent to us, especially since there are some lactose intolerant populations in the US,” he remarked. And he added: “Even with just the amount of calories to drink milk like that, it would be preferable to be drinking water, tea or coffee.”