MyThoughts on MyPlate

A few days ago on this blog, I introduced you to MyPlate—the recent dietary icon presented in early June by the USDA.

This new icon emphasizes the importance of eating a balanced meal. Different from the old food pyramid that many of you are familiar with, the plate icon gives you a more specific idea of what to eat at each meal rather than how many servings to eat of a certain food group per day.

In this post, I’ll break down the major components of the Plate icon and things you need to keep in mind.

What MyPlate tells you: What you need to keep in mind:
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables!

Want a great challenge? Try to eat one fruit/vegetable in each color every day! Red: tomatoes, apples, strawberries. Orange: sweet potato, Clementine. Yellow: banana, yellow peppers. Green: spinach, avocado. Blue/Purple: blueberries, eggplant, grapes. White: onions, cauliflower.

Add grains to your plate Make half of your grains “whole grains.”

From the Mayo Clinic website, “A slice of commercially prepared white bread has 66 calories, 1.9 grams protein and 0.6 grams fiber. A slice of whole-wheat bread has 69 calories and provides 3.6 grams protein and 1.9 grams fiber. It isn’t hard to see which one is the better nutritional bet.” < — With more protein and fiber, you are left feeling full.

Think whole wheat bread is the only “whole grain?” Think again! Any foods made from whole wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, bulgur, whole rye, and more are whole grain foods.

Consume protein “Protein” encompasses a variety of foods—not just meat! Protein comes from both animal and plant sources. Beans, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds—along with meat, eggs, poultry, and seafood—are all considered protein.
Include dairy with your meal Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) dairy. These switches will decrease your calorie consumption, without affecting your calcium consumption.
Eat off a plate Though it sounds simple, eating off a plate is truly a critical part of our well-being. Rushing around and snacking, eating in the car, or munching mindlessly in front of the television can lead to unnecessary weight gain. Be mindful when you eat and listen to your body’s hunger cues!

Keep your plate size small! When the same amount of food is served off a big plate versus a small plate, those who eat off the small plate are often more satisfied than those who eat off the large plate. With a smaller plate, your mind is “tricked” into thinking you are eating more. So, small plate = more satisfaction in your meal!

Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov This site is the main hub for all their educational materials! Visit the site and click around to learn more.

This may seem like a ton of information, but it’s really only skimming the surface! For more information, visit the MyPlate website.

What do you think of the new icon? Will it be easier for you to consume a healthy diet with this resource? Leave a comment and tell the world what you think!

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MyPlate: The New Nutrition Guidelines

Do you remember the old nutrition guidelines from 2005?

Or maybe you remember these guidelines from 1992?

These guidelines served a great purpose in guiding America’s eating choices. But, consumers were often left confused. Why were fats, oils, and sweets at the TOP of the 1992 food pyramid—isn’t the top where most important things go? And what about the 2005 pyramid? Did it really help consumers know what to eat? What is a serving anyway?

In order to combat puzzlement and encourage better eating habits, on June 2, 2011, the USDA released the new icon for optimal nutrition. Readers, let me introduce you to MyPlate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The simplicity of this icon should better help consumers understand how to eat healthier at the dinner table. The main focus of MyPlate is to encourage filling half the plate with fruits and vegetables, making half your grains whole grains, choosing lean protein sources, and selecting low-fat dairy products. Consumers are encouraged to balance calories by avoiding big portions, as well as enjoying food while eating less. Other big messages include choosing products that have lower sodium content and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.

Check back soon and I’ll share my thoughts about the new icon and its message.

With a plate icon, rather than a pyramid, consumers should better know how to set up their plate when they sit down for a meal. What are your thoughts about the MyPlate icon? Do you think it’s more helpful for you when making food choices?

You can find out more information about MyPlate at http://www.choosemyplate.gov. Also, take part in the MyPlate fun! USDA is encouraging YOU to take a photo of your plate and share it on twitter. Be sure to include “#MyPlate” in your tweet.