When you are looking to make big changes in your health and wellbeing, it is best to start small and keep things simple. Babies won’t start their movements into the world by running, right? We encourage simple beginnings with Choose MyPlate and your everyday food choices.
As shown throughout HealthBeet, there is a big emphasis for Americans to eat more fruits and veggies but there is no need to start off with a large kale salad.
Veggies are great when they are whipped into a smoothie! Kids especially love smoothies because they are colorful, sweet and simply fun to drink up. Another great way to be sure you are serving up a healthy plate is by adding a bit of a rainbow by using diced peppers in your Sunday morning egg scramble.
For fruits, try adding berries to your oatmeal or even mixing mashed bananas into your next batch of muffins.
Grains seem to have a bad rap these days but they are very important for keeping us going all day long. Americans are encouraged to make half their grains whole and for many, this can be difficult.
The next time you are serving your typical white rice side dish, cook half white and half brown. Toss both cooked rices into a hot skillet with minced garlic and saute for a few minutes. The textures together and garlic flavor will move you gradually into one more side dish with more whole grains. Maybe one day there will only be brown rice served.
Proteins being served on a healthy plate should be varied as much as any other food group. Swap your typical ground beef in chili for more beans or add some tofu to your next smoothie and you’ll be getting more plant protein. Instead of a steak fajita, serve a salmon fajita and this will not only be a change in protein source but it will also provide healthy fats for skin, hair and the brain.
Dairy is an important source of nutrients that many people are missing out on due to allergies and other personal reasons. When choosing dairy products, most of us should choose a lower fat option. Children under the age of 2 and those who are underweight, should choose the fuller fat versions. When making the switch from full fat, begin with 2% and gradually get used to the new texture and taste. Eventually, make the final switch to 1% or non-fat dairy products.
If you are one who does not consume cow’s milk dairy products, look for those dairy alternatives that are rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein. Many of the dairy alternatives are low in protein and dairy is a great source of protein especially for growing children.
There are many different ways to add more nutrition to your plate. Using a few of these tips each week will gradually get your MyPlate near picture perfect! Remember that a few small changes each week may be the best way to make these changes stick for life.