Week 1-What’s on your plate?
Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. The essential steps are to eat mostly foods derived from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, choosing lean proteins and limiting highly processed foods.
Healthy eating begins with what we put on our plate so an easy way to get started is by using the ChooseMyPlate icon. It doesn’t require any special tools or any counting and it works whether you are cooking at home or eating out.
- Imagine drawing a line down the middle of your dinner plate. Then on each side, draw another line so you have a total of four sections on your plate (for an extra challenge, try using a 9 inch dinner plate).
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Choose from a variety of fresh, frozen, canned or dried products as well as 100% fruit and vegetable juices. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Fill the Grains section with whole grains. Substitute whole grain choices for refined-grain breads, bagels, rolls, breakfast cereals, crackers, rice and pasta. Check to make sure that the words “whole” or “whole-grain” are listed first in the ingredients list on product labels.
- Fill the Protein section with lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, peas and nuts. Strive for two servings of seafood each week and look for the words “round” or “loin” in the meat label on pork and beef products.
- For Dairy, choose skim (fat-free) or 1% (low-fat) milk, lactose-free milk or a fortified soy beverage. Yogurt or 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese can also be substituted.
So before you eat your next meal, see how your plate compares to MyPlate.
Check back next week for another tip on how to build a healthy diet!
Director of Nutrition and Wellness