September 26, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Some of you may be aware of the new recommendation by the USDA, replacing the food guide pyramid. It’s called MyPlate and resembles a well-balanced meal divided into food groups as seen below. This is a great image to have in your head while you start planning your next meal. There are so many different nutrients our bodies need and a balanced diet ensures your body is getting them all!
The following are the USDA recommendations of a healthy diet:
Make half your plate fruits & vegetables
- Not only are they low in calories and fat but they are also packed with tons of beneficial nutrients making them a crucial part of our diet.
Make at least half your grains whole grains
How can you tell if it’s a whole grain?
- It’s not always as obvious as you may think. Some of the most common examples are brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread. Look on MyPlate’s website for an entire list of whole grains.
Choose lean or low-fat meat and poultry. Beans and peas are great sources of protein without a lot of fat.
- Most Americans actually consume more than their recommended amount of protein. When choosing your protein try to choose the lower fat choices such as leaner meats, poultry and fish and plant sources such as beans, nuts and seeds.
Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk or even milk-substitutes that are fortified with nutrients such as calcium.
- Milk products have the potential to have a lot of fat and calories. Look other options such as fat-free and non-dairy milks such as soy or almond milk.
Limit solid fat intake and consume healthier oils into your diet.
- Solid fats can include butter, shortening, and chicken which have high amounts of unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fat. Instead add oils to your meals such as canola, olive, and sunflower oil. Also certain foods contain a lot of oil like avocados and nuts.
Check out MyPlate’s website for tons of information on their recommendations. There are examples of sources, explanations of the benefits of each food group and their nutrients, how to determine portion sizes, etc. There are fun resources for kids, recipes and fact sheets. The awesome part about the website is you can personalize it to tell you how much of each food group is best for YOU. Everyone is different and this is a great way to know your own personal nutrition needs.
The SuperTracker is a free method of monitoring your food intake. All you do is put in your height, weight, age, and activity level and then enter in the food that you eat. It tells you what food group each food falls under and how close you are to meeting your recommendations for calories, nutrients and food groups. So now you can really find out if your meals resemble the one in the picture!