It’s National Nutrition Month: Choose MyPlate

Thursday, March 13, 2014

myplate_blue
By Joni Garcia MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

Eating the right amount of foods in each food group every day is no easy feat! In honor of National Nutrition Month I wanted to pay homage to MyPlate, our national icon for healthy eating, which aims to help guide us to choose the right foods.

About MyPlate
MyPlate replaced MyPyramid in 2011 as a way to help us figure out what foods and how much of them we should be eating at each meal. The icon, developed by USDA, is a familiar image, a dinner plate. The message that accompanies the icon is pretty straightforward – fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, the other half with grain and protein foods, and round it out with low fat dairy.

Why Use It?
MyPlate is simple. By setting your plate similar to the icon, you’re making sure to eat the right proportion of each food group without having to think too hard. There’s no calorie counting or weighing, just a quick eyeball of your plate. There are tons of tools available on the MyPlate website that can further help you to stay on track—even better, they’re all free! Here are just a few:

  • Daily Food Plans – These show how much of each food group you should eat each day based on your recommended daily calories
  • Tips – Simple tips to help you eat healthier and exercise a little more
  • Recipes – Healthy recipes for kids by kids, favorites of the First Lady, and more
  • SuperTracker – An extensive tool to help personalize your food and exercise routine. Enter the food you eat, your activity, and your goals into the tracker and the program calculates how you’re doing in terms of meeting your food and activity recommendations.

MyPlate is a terrific tool to make eating healthier easier, but it can be hard to use for some meals, like breakfast, or when eating mixed dishes, like casseroles or pizza. It also doesn’t address healthier options for grain or protein foods. Making the healthier food choice is up to you—like choosing whole wheat bread over white or lean cuts of beef and chicken instead of fattier cuts.

Bottom Line
MyPlate is a great tool to help visualize how to eat healthfully. It promotes eating in moderation and eating more of the foods we tend to lack, like fruits and veggies. The tools available on the MyPlate website can help overcome some of the pitfalls of the icon itself.

Tell Me: How do you fill your plate?

Filed under Healthy Eating  |  Comments: 1


One Comment on “It’s National Nutrition Month: Choose MyPlate



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