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MyPlate: Healthy Eating Made Easy

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MyPlate is the nutrition guide that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes as a recommendation for Americans. As seen in the picture below, it depicts a plate with all four food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein—with a cup of dairy on the side. The plate is sectioned out to show the recommended portion sizes for each food group. Healthy eating is easy with the MyPlate method because it does not require the use of instruments such as scales or measuring cups to portion foods.  It only requires following the guidelines below:

  • Half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. This ensures that the 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended daily are included in the diet. A variety of fruits and vegetables of different textures and colors should be included—a rainbow is the goal. This is because each color provides different nutrients. Vegetables can be prepared in many different ways—steamed, roasted, stir-fried, and seasoned with different herbs and spices are just a few of them!
  • Grains should make up a little over 25% of the plate. Whole grains should comprise half or more of each person’s total daily grain intake, which is easy to do with the wide variety of whole grain products available, including whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice. Watch the video from the USDA below for more information on whole grains.
  • Protein makes up the last section of the plate, a little less than 25%. This group includes animal sources such as fish and lean cuts of meat such as chicken and beef, as well as plant sources of protein such as beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, and soybean products.
  • Three servings of dairy should be included per day to provide nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Low-fat (1%) or skim milk are the best options because they provide the standard amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, with fewer fat and calories compared to whole and reduced-fat (2%) milk . Light soymilk and the variety of nut milk alternatives are great options for individuals who don’t drink dairy as long as they are brands that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It is important to note, however, that soymilk is the only plant-based milk that has an amount of protein that is comparable to cow’s milk. Fortified oatmeal, soybeans, and broccoli are all foods that are also high in calcium. Additional high calcium foods can be found on the National Institute of Health’s website.

MyPlate can be used in the daily lives of all Americans to help each person eat healthy, well-balanced meals because it allows for the incorporation of those foods that are most nutritious, rather than the exclusion of those that are not. Choose MyPlate.gov for more information about MyPlate and eating healthy. Specific tips and resources are also included, including Healthy Eating on a Budget and more details on each of the five food groups. Happy Eating!

Jaclyn Rangel has a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis and is currently a Dietetic Intern at the VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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