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Health & Nutrition

Health & Nutrition

The United States Department of Agriculture's MyPlate symbol provides a simple visual guide about how to build a healthy plate. MyPlate was introduced in June 2011 to replace MyPyramid, and emphasized the need for an individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle by showing the foods and amounts that are right for individuals based on age, gender and activity. MyPlate provides actionable advice that is can be easily translated to mealtime.

Below is a brief explanation of each element of MyPlate and a recipe idea or tip to get you off to a good start.


  • Make half your grains whole.
  • Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grain bread, cereal, crackers, rice or pasta every day.
  • Look for "whole" before the grain name on the list of ingredients.
  • More about Grains


  • Vary your veggies.
  • Eat more dark green veggies.
  • Eat more orange veggies.
  • Eat more dry beans and peas.
  • More about Vegetables


  • Focus on fruits.
  • Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dry fruit.
  • Go easy on fruit juices.
  • More about Fruits


  • Choose calcium-rich foods.
  • Select low-fat or fat-free options.
  • If you can’t drink or don’t like milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources.
  • More about Dairy


  • Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry.
  • Bake it, broil it or grill it.
  • Vary your choices-with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
  • More about Protein


  • Although oils are not a food group, they are included because oils are an important part of healthful eating.
  • Know your fats.
  • Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening and lard (these are high in saturated fats).
  • More about Oils

Balancing Calories, by showing the recommended types and amounts of food on MyPlate. By enjoying the foods you eat, and being mindful of how much you are eating, you can help balance your calories simply by eating less.

Foods to Increase, symbolized by the five color-coded food groups on and around the plate. The plate serves as a quick visual reminder that half the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the other half is made up of grains (preferably whole grains) and lean sources of protein. Lastly, non-fat or low-fat dairy should be included to round out the meal.

Foods to Reduce, are reminders to use the Nutrition Facts Panel when purchasing packaged foods. Choose foods with lower calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Choose low- or reduced-sodium products or no-added salt products whenever possible. Also remember to trade sugar-sweetened beverages for water.

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