Update Your Plate, Part 8: The Tortillas & Wraps Edition

This post is a continuation of the Update Your Plate series, where I demonstrate how to use MyPlate to plan your meals. Read the story behind Update Your Plate here.

(Before I begin, I just want to say thank you for your kind words on my last post! It wasn’t easy to write, and I appreciate each and every one of you who read it.)

Since preparing my post on the Update Your Plate series for Stone Soup, the blog of Food and Nutrition Magazine, I’ve had an itch to do another UYP. Let me tell you: those UYP bites are annoying.

I’ve had these pictures since posting a BBQ tempeh wrap recipe back in April. Thus, I present to you:


Before we break down this meal, let’s remind ourselves what MyPlate looks like, as well as the purpose of eating in these approximate proportions:


The idea behind MyPlate is by filling your plate with foods in the proportions suggested, you’ll eat plenty of nutrient-packed fruits and veggies and a moderate amount of protein and grain-based carbohydrate.

Note I’ve grouped together fruits and vegetables because we tend to eat either one or the other at meals (e.g. fruit at breakfast, veggies at dinner).

Let’s take another look at the BBQ tempeh wrap.


Imagine you ordered this wrap at a restaurant. How would you MyPlate this?

Visualization, my dear reader.

Here’s the wrap, deconstructed:



Clockwise from upper left: Whole grain tortilla, creamy coleslaw, BBQ tempeh.

How does our tortilla plate look after we lay the MyPlate template over it?


Hmm. Something seems to be missing. Why don’t we throw some fruit on there?  We’d add to the Veggie & Fruit section AND enjoy a dessert. Double-win high five!


With the MyPlate template over it:


Yes, that’ll do nicely.

Let’s chat about this crazy MyPlate action. You may be thinking, “In the name of all superfruits and polyphenols, how would I ever be able to MyPlate a constructed wrap?” And you’re right: it’s not easy. That’s why I’m highlighting it here. By seeing an example of a deconstructed wrap, you may be able to visualize it with your next tortilla-wrapped meal.

(Of course, you can actually take apart your restaurant wrap if you’re so inclined. By pawing through your meal, you’ll make the other restaurant patrons think there’s something really wrong with the food.)

A quick note on portions: I haven’t mentioned serving sizes in UYP posts before, because for these major food groups, the actual portions are not as important if you eat on an 8- to 9-inch plate and are choosing foods without a lot of added fats and/or sugars. Built-in portion control, see? This method gets tricky when tortillas and wraps are thrown into the mix. They tend to be more calorie-dense than other grains, like rice and bread, and it’s easy to overdo it when eating them. Particularly when you consider many restaurants use giant 12-inch or larger tortillas that can have 300 to 400 calories or more.

In this case, it’s worth it to familiarize yourself with the grain serving sizes. From the MyPlate website: “In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Grains Group.” Individuals above age 18 need anywhere from 5 to 8 equivalents, depending on age and gender. As an under-30 woman, I should shoot for 6 grain equivalents per day. Ideally, I’d like to spread them out over the course of the day, so 2 equivalents at lunch would be perfect. That corresponds to an 8-inch tortilla, which is exactly what I have in the above example. Score!

Of course, if you’re out at a restaurant, it may be difficult and somewhat socially awkward to whip out your ruler. That’s where visualization comes into play. If the wrap looks enormous, consider using only half of it. Also note that many wraps tend to be heavy on protein and grain (some even add rice, which is quite unnecessary) and light on vegetables. If possible, ask for more vegetables and less grain. Or if you’re at home, fill that wrap with tons of veggies. Make it a challenge.

For example, I’ll bet I can fit more veggies in my wrap than yours. Think you can do better? Prove it.

And that’s my quick note on portions, which I acknowledge is longer than the rest of this post put together.

The complete meal as served:


Have a great weekend!

Q: What’s your favorite kind of wrap/tortilla meal?

Previous Update Your Plates:
Tuna Salad on Toast
Pumped-Up Tofu Salad
Spinach and Egg Breakfast Extravaganza
The One Where I Lay a Smoothie on a Plate
The Sorta Combination Plate
The Pizza Edition
The Actual Combination Plate


  1. Since I am avoiding wheat, I have found some rice wraps that we are all enjoying. They do break easily, so they are not that great for rolling things up, but they work great for veggie quesadillas.

    Have a great weekend, Jessie!

  2. oh I love how you broke this up with the plate- such a good tool using a visual like this.

  3. I am always so reticent to order wraps at restaurants because of how calorific those shells can be! It just never seems that worth it because they never really taste that great. It’s the insides I’m super excited about anyway!

    1. I totally agree with you about the insides being the best part!

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