Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Step up to the Plate!

Written by Kristin Hill
Part of National Nutrition Month 2012

National Nutrition month is a great time to reflect on our eating habits and consider how everyday decisions affect our wellbeing. The foods we eat become integrated into our bodies and influence our health in many ways. As daily eaters, we have the chance to improve our health every time we fill our plates.

The latest nutrition tool from the USDA is MyPlate, which visually reveals the proportions of a healthy meal. According to MyPlate, half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, the other half should contain grains and protein, and a serving of dairy should be included on the side. Think of MyPlate as a blank canvas that you can fill in with your favorite foods.

Figure 1.  Salmon, avocado, broccoli, barley and apple slaw makes a colorful and adventurous plate.

You can fill your plate with endless combinations of foods to have a healthy and delicious meal. All foods can be part of a healthy diet, as long as they are eaten in moderation and along with a variety of other foods. So if you indulge in your favorite dessert or fast food occasionally, don’t worry, just find some balance by eating plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains later.

Eating is part of our everyday lives so it should be enjoyable. Have fun customizing your plate with your favorite foods and also try to step outside the box once in a while. Trying foods from around the world can be a fun and nutritious experience. Remember, the best way to find your new favorite foods is to try new things.

So… what’s on your plate?


U.S. Department of Agriculture (2011, June 2). Food pyramid replaced by 'MyPlate' icon emphasizing fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from­ /releases/2011/06/110602145249.htm

MyPlate for the Heart. [Photograph]. (2012). Retrieved from

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