According to the USDA, MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks of a healthy diet. Each food group is illustrated as a part of the plate, in the portions appropriate for balance. Looking at the plate, anyone should be able to build a healthy meal in the proper amounts.
What is the MyPlate Method?
1. Half your meal Fruits and Veggies.
When you look at your plate, HALF of it should be built from fruits and veggies. Years of research has shown that eating enough fruits and vegetables is the number one thing you can do for your health. Some benefits to half your plate fruits and vegetables include
- maintaining a healthy weight
- Improving immunity
- Re-training taste preferences for overly sweet or salty foods.
- giving you more energy throughout the day
2. Choose Whole Grains.
The second food group illustrated on the plate is grains, but the USDA guildeines emphasize, whole grains. Whole grains are higher in important nutrients and fiber. Some whole grains to consider include:
- Brown Rice
- Whole Wheat
3. Vary Your Proteins.
The third food group on your plate is proteins. A lot of times when you ask people which foods are high in protein, they immediately think of meat. The guideline to vary your protein, can help you think beyond meat. Including in your meat section could be:
- Legumes: Black Beans, Kidney Beans, White Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Hummus using all varieties of beans
- Nut Butters
- Seeds, like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.
- Eggs and yogurt
- Seafood – especially white fish and salmon. These are flaky and easy for kids to chew.
4. And finally dairy
The last food group to consider is dairy! Although there are people who are unable to eat dairy products, if you can, you should. Dairy is a great source of calcium and vitamins. Recommendations for getting dairy into your diet include, milk, yogurt and cheese.
You can use the visual of Choose Myplate to build any healthy meal. You can also purchase products to be used in the kitchen, such as our portion plates to reinforce the balance at home. No complicated food combining, or trying to figure out servings and amounts. If you use the MyPlate method, you just let the plate do all of the work for you, and you just fill in the sections with foods your family enjoys.
If you are wanting to change your diet, or just teach your kids a very balanced way of eating, MyPlate is a great way to start!