As many of us venture to begin our new year’s resolution of healthier eating, instead of looking up which “diet” to start, get to know MyPlate, which is more of a lifestyle of healthy eating than it is a diet. MyPlate was designed in 2011 by the USDA and gives a visual of which foods should go on our plate, something the food guide pyramid and MyPyramid didn’t effectively do.
By looking at the image above, one can notice that fruits and vegetables take up half the plate. The majority of Americans lack eating enough fruits and vegetables each day, and many like to load up their plates with meat or grains, such as pasta or rice, as the main dish as opposed to a side dish. By following MyPlate, fruits and vegetables will take up much of the plate, giving the opportunity to increase our intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Other messages of MyPlate include: varying the types and colors of your fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, and canned all count), making half your grains whole grains (more fiber is found in the whole grain option), consuming low-fat or fat-free dairy options (milk, cheese, yogurt), and to mix up your protein with both animal proteins (seafood, poultry, pork, red meat, etc.) and plant-based protein, such as eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, soy, and peanut butter.
Additionally, another MyPlate message is to consume less sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. So instead of picking a diet to go on, try making small changes step-by-step on how to eat healthier by following MyPlate. Whether you start with cutting out soda and other sugary items, switching to more plant-based proteins, or making sure your breads, cereals, and pasta are whole grain as opposed to refined, you can work your way to a healthier lifestyle by pursuing these messages. For more information, go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.