Building Balanced Meals with MyPlate
MyPlate, a visual tool to help build balanced meals with ease and confidence, was developed using the current Dietary Guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Making nourishing choices on a regular basis helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Here is a quick overview of the guidelines:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Include a colorful variety of whole fruits and vegetables, as well as frozen, canned, 100% juice and dried produce options.
- Make half your grain choices whole grain. Whole grains provide fiber and nutrients that refined grains may lack.
- Vary your protein sources. Choose from a variety of lean meats and plant-based options, while including seafood at least twice per week.
- Go lowfat or fat-free for dairy. Select these when shopping for milk, yogurt and even cheese.
- Enjoy sugary beverages as a treat. Most often, reach for calorie-free drinks like water, unsweetened tea and seltzer to stay hydrated.
- Incorporate daily physical activity. Most people need about 30 minutes of movement per day, but speak to your doctor to find out what’s right for you.
Reshape Your Plate
Following MyPlate guidelines for proportions helps manage portion sizes to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of nutrients from each dish. Using a 9-inch round plate, make half the plate fruits and vegetables, one-quarter grains and one-quarter lean protein. Complete your meal by including a side of dairy or plant-based alternative like soymilk.
Of course, calorie needs vary by person, so you may require more or less food. To decide what portions are right for you, visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/MyPlatePlan to calculate your MyPlate Plan for free!
Need a little MyPlate inspiration? Here are some meal ideas to get you started:
Breakfast: Mix hot oatmeal with peanut butter or top with slivered almonds. Add in fruit like blueberries, then garnish with cinnamon and vanilla extract for flavor.
Lunch: Mixed vegetable salad topped with grilled chicken and southwest-seasoned corn and black beans. For dessert, enjoy pudding with sliced berries.
Dinner: Oven-roasted pork tenderloin and apples with roasted red potatoes and baby carrots. Serve with a glass of milk and whole grain dinner rolls.
Snacks: Opt for pairings like whole fruit with a handful of nuts; sliced cheese and whole grain crackers; and hummus and red pepper strips.