Is one of your resolutions for the new year to eat healthier? One of the easiest things you can do to improve your health involves using a tool you already use every time you eat - your plate - and how you fill that plate. Using your plate as a guide can help you eat the right foods and right amount of foods for better health. The concept is simple: first fill your plate (or bowl) half full of vegetables and fruit, and round it out with sensible portions of healthy protein and starch.
Why does MyPlate work? By filling your plate half full of fruits and vegetables, you get many powerful health benefits including:
Nutrients such as folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, C, and K that are under-consumed by many Americans.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and certain types of cancers.
Maintenance of healthy weight because most fruits and veggies are low in calories and high in fiber.
Use the idea every time you eat - whether it's breakfast, eating out, a snack, dessert, or going back for a second helping. Visualize the plate or bowl and first fill it half full with a fruit and/or vegetable.
1. Consider the size of your plate. Try using a 9-inch plate as a way to reduce portion size and calories.
2. Review the food groups; what foods fit into each section?
Visually divide the plate or bowl in half.
Fill half of the plate with veggies and/or fruit.
Fill one-quarter of the plate with lean meat or protein.
Fill one-quarter of the plate with grains or a starch (such as a potato, rice, or pasta). Make this selection a whole grain option as often as possible.
Add one serving of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.
3. Know proper portion sizes for each MyPlate section. You still need to measure!
4. Focus on whole, low-fat foods:
fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables,
fresh, lean protein,
skim milk, cheese and nonfat yogurt.
Here are examples of how to make MyPlate work for you.
Whole wheat spaghetti noodles topped with meat sauce, side of leafy green salad with cherry tomatoes, glass of skim milk, broiled pineapple for dessert.
Brown bag lunch:
Sandwich - whole wheat bread, turkey, low-fat cheese and fresh vegetables, side of baby carrots, two clementines.
Parfait - nonfat yogurt layered with berries, granola and sliced almonds, banana on the side.
For more information or specific information on MyPlate, contact a Hy-Vee dietitian or visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.