MyPlate is a tool developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help Americans eat healthier. Using MyPlate will help you and your family eat a variety of grains, protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables for a healthy diet!
Grains: The best grains are whole grains. Try oatmeal, popcorn, whole grain bread, whole wheat tortillas, and brown rice. How do you know if a grain is a whole grain? Look for the word “whole” listed on the ingredients list. Limit refined grains like white bread, white rice, cakes, cookies, and pastries.
Protein: Vary your protein. Seafood, lean red meat (90-99% fat free ground beef, sirloin, top loin or tenderloin, and round), chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, nuts, and soy are all great options. Limit the amount of processed meats you eat like bacon or sliced deli meats.
The amount of protein that a person should eat each week varies based on your age and physical activity. However, the recommendation is between 2 and 6.5 ounces per day.
Helpful Hint: About 3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards or a woman’s open palm.
Dairy: These foods are high in protein and keep your bones strong. Milk, yogurt, and cheese, along with calcium-fortified alternative milks, such as almond, soy, or oat milk are found in this food group. Try low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) dairy options. They contain less calories and saturated fats – “bad fats”.
The amount of dairy you should eat daily is usually between 2-3 cups per day.
Fruit: Eat plenty of fruit of all colors. Focus on the whole fruit instead of fruit juices. Fruit juices, like apple or grape juice, can be high in added sugars. Whole fruits contain carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, and water. Try fresh, frozen, dried, and canned varieties. Enjoy 1-2 cups of fruit each day.
Vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables from the following subgroups: dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash). Enjoy 2-3 cups of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables daily.
For more information on MyPlate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov