Healthy Eating by Shelby Shelby
Use the MyPlate to Make Healthy Meals
Creating healthy meals for yourself and your family can be a daunting prospect. We often hear conflicting information on what is considered “healthy” these days. Well, look no further! The MyPlate is a reliable guidance system to help you develop balanced plates at every meal.
The United States Department of Agriculture replaced the Food Pyramid with the MyPlate in 2011 to provide a more practical guide for healthy meals. The MyPlate is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report of the most current nutrition recommendations that is updated every 5 years. Following the MyPlate guidance system for all three meals can help you get the nutrients your body needs for the day.
On the MyPlate, you will find that half of the plate is covered with fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, or canned (without salt or sugar added). Fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are essential to health. One fourth of the MyPlate is filled with lean protein options. Lean proteins are lower in saturated fat, the type of fat that encourages high cholesterol levels. Lean protein options include lean meats, like fish and poultry without the skin, and plant proteins, like beans and nuts. The last fourth of the MyPlate contains whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, popcorn, or quinoa. Whole grains are an important source of fiber. Americans tend to eat only half of the fiber they need each day. Lastly, at every MyPlate meal low-fat dairy is encouraged. Low-fat dairy is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. These two nutrients are low in the typical American diet, but are essential for bone and overall health.
MyPlate meals can make healthy eating easier for you and your family. Try these tips to start having MyPlate meals at your home.
1. Assign every family member a dinner to plan using the MyPlate.
2. Buy 5 small refrigerator bins and fill them with foods from each of the 5 food groups. Each morning pick one item from each food group to pack for your lunch.
3. Start with small goals to work your way to MyPlate meals. A great way to start is to commit to having one serving of vegetables at every meal. Next week commit to another food group!
For more information about the Myplate and resources, like recipes and cookbooks, visit choosemyplate.gov.
Shelby Shelby, RDN, LD registered dietitian living in Morgantown, KY. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Dietetics from the University of Kentucky and completed her dietetic internship through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Kentucky. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Alabama. Shelby is a certified LIFESTEPS® instructor, Diabetes Prevention Program instructor, and holds a Certificate of Training in Food Allergies. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is on the Social Media and Website Committee of the Kentucky Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Shelby is passionate about individual and community health and works hard to assist her clients make healthful lifestyle changes.