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!