Choose My Plate

My Plate was created to help us better understand the building blocks to a healthy meal and the amount of each food group we should be eating on our plates.

For more information on MyPlate, visit  www.choosemyplate.gov

Fruits:

Fruits are important because:

  • Fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories.
  • They contain many essential nutrients like, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folic acid.
  • Eating fruits in your diet can help reduce the risk for obesity, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, high blood pressure and bone loss.

Tips to eat more fruits

  • Buy fresh fruit when it is in season
  • Buy fruits that are dried, frozen and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  • Have children help to wash and prepare fruits
  • Allow children to pick out fruits they are interested in at the grocery store
  • Add fruit to foods like; cereal, pancakes, yogurt and salads.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of all different colors. Eat the Rainbow!

Vegetables:

Vegetables are important because:

  • Vegetables are low in fat and calories.
  • Vegetables are an important source of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • Vegetables help to maintain a healthy blood pressure, reduce blood cholesterol levels, lower the risk for heart disease, keep eyes and skin healthy, protect against infections, heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy.

Tips to eat more vegetables

  • Buy fresh vegetables when they are in season
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy cooking.
  • Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare, for example: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes are easy to add to a salad or eat for a snack.
  • Add more veggies to foods like; pizza, pasta, stir fry, salads and hamburgers.
  • Eat different colors of fruits and vegetables to get different nutrients from each color. Eat the Rainbow!
  • Let children help to wash, cut up or prepare vegetables
  • Allow children to choose different vegetables to try

Proteins:

Why are proteins important:

  • Some of the foods in the protein category can be high in fats. Foods like fatty cuts beef, pork, ground beef, sausages, bacon, hot dogs and some lunch meats are high in fat. It is important to limit these types of proteins.
  • Eat 8 ounces of seafood a week. Seafood contains a range of nutrients that can prevent against heart disease.
  • Proteins are the building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They help to give our bodies energy and play a vital role with our nervous system.

Tips to eat more proteins

  • Choose lean options/cuts of meat. Go lean with protein!
  • Buy skinless portions of chicken, or take off the skin
  • Trim away all visible fat
  • Vary your types of proteins; choose beans or peas as your main dish instead of meat. Example: split pea soup, black bean enchiladas, chili with kidney or pinto beans
  • Broil, grill, roast, poach or boil meat instead of frying it

Grains

Why are grains important:

  • Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product.
  • There are two types of grains, whole grains and refined grains. At least half of all your grains should be whole grain items.
  • Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel- the bran, germ, and endosperm
  • Refined grains have been processed and have the bran and germ removed
  • Whole grains have many nutrients that help to reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk for heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Tips for eating whole grains

  • Substitute whole grain products for a refined grain product, for example; bread, pasta, crackers, brown rice
  • If you don’t like the taste of whole grain products, at first mix half and half with refined grain products. For example; half whole grain pasta and half refined grain pasta, half brown rice and half white rice.
  • Use rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal for breading on baked chicken, fish, eggplant, etc.

Dairy:

Why is dairy important:

  • The intake of dairy products is linked to improved bone health, and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • The intake of dairy is especially important to bone health during childhood and adolescence, when bone mass is being built.
  • Dairy can also help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure.

Tips for eating dairy

  • Always choose fat-free or low-fat dairy options.
  • Use fat-free or low-fat yogurts to make dips for fruits and vegetables
  • Use fat-free or low-fat plain flavored yogurt instead of sour cream