Do you know what you are supposed to eat to be healthy? The FoodPyramid has now been replaced with MyPlate, an icon which emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. The new icon will be used in messages to illustrate healthy eating based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released this January.
Primary messages from the Guidelines include:
- Balance Calories
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals--and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
In perusing the new website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, I found several helpful resources including the 10 Tip Sheets Nutrition Education series. Each colorful, one-page Tip Sheet provides simple recommendations which can be made to achieve a healthier eating pattern for adults, children, and families. I spent time reading through each page and recognize several suggestions and learned a few new things.
The MyPlate icon resembles the advice my neurological nurse practitioner gives when discussing healthy eating patterns. She has long emphasized that we should use smaller plates, fill half of it with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with protein, one-quarter with grains. Looks very similar to the picture, doesn’t it?
Knowing that this is the way we should eat is one thing. Actually putting this knowledge into practice is a different story. Creating meals which follow this simple advice needs to become habit. Don’t forget that fruits and veggies matter.
Read a few of the suggestions regarding food groups and healthy eating habits, as excerpted from the various 10 Tip Sheets:
- choose seafood twice a week - Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week. Select a variety of seafood—include some that are higher in oils and low in mercury, such as salmon, trout, and herring.
- have an egg - One egg a day, on average, doesn’t increase risk for heart disease, so make eggs part of your weekly choices. Only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and
- saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.
- eat plant protein foods more often - Try beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds. They are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber.
- nuts make great snacks - Choose unsalted nuts as a snack and use them in salads or main dishes. Add almonds, walnuts, or pecans instead of cheese or meat to a green salad.
- include beans and peas - Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Enjoy some vegetarian chili, three bean salad, or split pea soup. Make a hummus-filled pita sandwich.
Fruits and Vegetables