The Plate Model: a visual method of teaching meal planning. DAIS Project Group. Diabetes Atherosclerosis Intervention Study

J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Oct;98(10):1155-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(98)00267-3.


Dietitians from Canada, Finland, France, and Sweden have explored methods of teaching meal planning to persons with diabetes and dyslipidemia in the Diabetes Atherosclerosis Intervention Study. The Plate Model, a method commonly used in Europe, is a simple alternative to the traditional exchange-based method for teaching meal planning. In this visual method, a dinner plate serves as a pie chart to show proportions of the plate that should be covered by various food groups. Portions of foods and appropriate food choices can be depicted for meals and snacks in assorted forms of the model. Methods of presenting the model range from professional photography to hand-drawn sketches and displays of food replicas. Benefits of the model for adult learners include enhancement of the connection between dietary theory and practice, promotion of memory retention and understanding through visual messages, and experience of a positive approach to nutrition counseling. Various cuisines and festive foods can be incorporated into the model. The Plate Model offers a meal planning approach that is simple and versatile. The effectiveness of the model and its applications to other populations need to be evaluated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Dietetics
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / diet therapy*
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*