Serving Up A Balanced Meal: Could Israeli Startup ‘Plate My Meal’ Teach Iranian Kids Healthy Eating Habits?
“Globesity,” the term used by the World Health Organization to describe the global epidemic of obesity, is spreading fast. According to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults in the world are overweight, of whom 600 million are obese.
Now, Israeli startup Plate My Meal is offering a simple yet effective way to instill healthy eating habits and prevent obesity from a young age, with a five-piece plastic plate set for toddlers. The plates, which are divided into different compartments, indicate the recommended portions of different kinds of foods, including dairy products, vegetables and grains.
In addition, the set suggests the appropriate time for each meal: Breakfast (7-8 a.m.), mid-morning snack (10-11 a.m.), lunch (12-1 p.m.), mid-afternoon snack (3-4 p.m.), and dinner (5-7 p.m.).
“I envisioned a product that would help parents encourage their children to eat healthy, so I developed a very simple, three-step system: when, what and how much to eat,” Plate My Meal CEO Dror Tamir (also the co-founder of startup Steak TzarTzar, which grows crickets for human consumption) tells NoCamels. The plate set costs $30 and is currently available on the company’s website, with additional online retailers coming soon.
The company, which dubs its three-step system “the 3D healthy eating concept,” based it on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines for Americans. The system not only teaches toddlers proper serving sizes, but also the different food groups and how to mix them up to make a healthy meal.
“The government spends billions of dollars every year trying to educate the public,” says Tamir, who questions its success, in light of the growing obesity epidemic. “Instead of talking about losing weight or dieting, we have to talk about our habits.”
According to the company, the Israeli health ministry has endorsed Plate My Meal. Even the ministry of health in Iran – which has no diplomatic relations with Israel – contacted Tamir about the plate set, since Iran is also combating a national obesity problem. In a recent crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Plate My Meal raised $10,030, further proving the interest in its product.
Some of the advantages Plate My Meal claims to have over its competitors – MyPlate, Diet Plate, and Create Your Plate, to name a few – is that it recommends portion sizes and foods from different groups, while simultaneously tailoring each plate for a specific meal and therefore a specific time of the day. Plate My Meal also contains one plate for each recommended meal of the day, whereas some of its competitors offer one plate for all meals, according to Tamir.
Peanut butter or tahini?
Evidently, Plate My Meal caters to some cultural dietary differences. For instance, the American set contains one dairy portion for lunch and one protein for dinner, whereas the Israeli set contains the opposite (protein for lunch and dairy for dinner), in accordance with local customs. The food suggestions also take these cultural differences into account: The portion of fat in the middle compartment of one of the plates contains drawings of both tahini (Mediterranean) and peanut butter (American) as options.
Plate My Meal plans to create sets for the whole family, not just for children, and also cater to other dietary restrictions, such as vegetarianism and veganism. Most importantly, encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age are fundamental for the prevention of obesity, and that’s what Plate My Meal is trying to achieve.
Now, all that’s left to do is to actually fill your plate!
Photos and video: Courtesy