Licking Memorial Health Systems
Published 3:35 PM EDT Apr 16, 2019
MyPlate is a nutritional diagram that displays food tips to help maintain optimal nutrition. It can be utilized for individuals of all ages and provide useful information in maintaining a healthy diet for children. The diagram shows the healthy amount of each food group that should be consumed and can be customized for an individual’s weight, height, age and gender and level of activity. However, a general MyPlate diagram can be chosen that describes a basic, healthy nutritional lifestyle for everyone. The general diagram offers the following nutritional tips from the five major food groups:
- Fruits–Fresh and whole fruits are preferred versus canned or dried fruits. Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals, therefore it is important to eat a variety of different fruits. Tasteful ways to incorporate fruit into your meals include topping whole grain cereal with your favorite fruit, adding berries to pancakes, or mixing fresh fruit into hot oatmeal. Try a new fruit for a snack or add to a salad.
- Vegetables–Try to consume a variety of vegetables. It is important to include as many colors as possible, including red, dark green, orange or purple. Some examples include, red peppers, romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts or asparagus, which can be added to salads or stir fries. Make extra vegetables to save for future use. Lightly steaming vegetables reserves crucial vitamin and antioxidants — try not to overcook them.
- Grains–Make sure half of the total grains consumed are whole grains. Add brown rice to your stir-fry dishes. Use whole grain bread when making a sandwich. If considering a refined grain bread, make sure it is enriched by reviewing the ingredient list. Whole grain cereal, crackers, oatmeal, barley, wheat, quinoa, couscous and plain popcorn also are great choices.
- Protein Foods–Try adding protein to each meal, such as seafood (salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.), beans, chicken, pork or beef to tacos. For vegetarians, try consuming legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans. Make colorful kabobs with favorite protein foods and veggies. Enjoy the kabobs grilled or roasted. Make patties with canned salmon, crab or tuna, or use on a seafood sandwich.
- Dairy–Try to consume 2 servings of dairy per day, which can include lowfat milk, yogurt, cheeses (cottage, string, slices, etc.). Enjoy a lowfat yogurt parfait for breakfast and top with fruit and nuts to include two more food groups.
Similar plans are made for each person if a personalized MyPlate diagram is created. MyPlate may be visited online at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. It is a cost-free aid to help create healthy habits among Americans of all ages. For any questions regarding your child’s nutrition, please contact your primary care physician or pediatrician.
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