A sample seven-day menu also has been included, along with a shopping list, recipes for most foods on the menu and a list of common serving sizes for different foods.
Carbohydrate, protein and fat -- called macronutrients. (Macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts.) Vitamins & minerals -- called micronutrients. (Micronutrients are nutrients needed in smaller amounts.) Water Carbohydrates give you energy and are especially important for fueling your brain. They are found in most types of foods, except meats and pure fats (butter, oil). About half of the food you eat should come from foods that contain carbohydrates.
Protein is found mostly in animal foods, such as meats, dairy products, eggs and seafood. Protein also can be found in plant foods, such as beans and peas, nuts and seeds, and soy foods. Protein is used to build your body parts. Cells, organs, tissues and muscles – all are made with protein. Most Americans have no problem getting their daily protein requirement, which is about 15-20 % of your daily diet.
Fats are not all bad! You need some fat to keep your body functioning. Fat helps your body use vitamins and minerals (the micronutrients) and provides you with extra energy. However, if a person does not use the extra energy, the body can store it as fat. Some fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are heart healthy; however, saturated fat and trans fat can clog your arteries.You should eat fat in moderation; 30% or less of your total calories each day should come from fat. Many foods contain fat, so read the Nutrition Facts labels to see what you're getting!
Vitamins and minerals (the micronutrients) are found in all types of foods. Fruits and vegetables are very good sources. Vitamins and minerals also help keep your body functioning. Some important vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. Important minerals include calcium, iron and potassium. Sodium is a mineral you should eat in moderation – not too much each day! This is another nutrient to read about on the Nutrition Facts label because sodium is found in many different foods, especially processed meat, canned foods (including vegetables and soups) and frozen dinners.
Remember when everyone used the six food groups to plan a balanced diet? Now we use MyPlate to help people follow a balanced diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
MyPlate is a tool to help us get all the nutrients we need for good health. You can use MyPlate as a basis for planning healthy meals. Use more of the whole, unrefined foods in each group to plan your meals.
MyPlate is divided into five groups and two subgroups:
1. Grains Group 2. Vegetable Group3. Fruit Group 4. Dairy Group5. Protein Foods Group
The main idea of MyPlate is balance, variety and moderation. Eat a balanced diet made up of a variety of foods from all the food groups, but remember to eat in moderation – not too much of any one group. When planning meals for your family, keep MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines in mind. Try to plan meals that include each of the food groups but contain only moderate amounts of fats, sweets, and oils. The amount of food you will need from each group depends on your age, sex, and your level of physical activity you do each day.The next sections review each of the five food groups that make up MyPlate.
So if you were to eat 1/2 cup of red beans (1/2 cup) with rice, 1/2 cup steamed broccoli (1/2 cup), a salad made of 1 cup of lettuce (equal to 1/2 cup), and 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes (1/2 cup), you would have eaten 2 cups total of vegetables in one meal!
So what counts as an ounce? In general,
If you were to eat a sandwich for lunch, you would be eating 2 ounces from the grain group.
Other meat alternatives equivalent to 1 ounce of meat include:
This is also a food group that contains saturated fat and cholesterol, so try to find lower-fat choices, such as the leanest cuts of beef (round steak, roasts, top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts) and pork (pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham), beans and peas, skinless chicken and turkey, or fish (including water-packed tuna fish).
Food is made of six different nutrients. Carbohydrate, protein and fat are called macronutrients. Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. Water is also a nutrient, in a class by itself. MyPlate can help you plan healthful meals for you and your family. MyPlate is made up of five food groups. You should eat foods from each group every day.
The key to healthy eating is balance, variety and moderation: Eat a balanced meal with a variety of foods, but remember to eat in moderation (not too much fat and sugar!)
Planning your menus ahead of time and shopping for what you need can save you time and money, while helping to stretch your food dollars.
JuiceScrambled EggsBiscuitLow-fat or Skim Milk
Roast PorkSweet PotatoesGreen BeansBiscuitsFruit CobblerTea
Toastcinnamon or jellytwo pieces
Tuna SaladLettuce, TomatoCrackersGelatin with Canned FruitLow-fat or Skim Milk
Seasonal FruitOatmealLow-fat or Skim Milk
Vegetable SoupCheese SandwichApple SlicesGraham CrackersLow-fat or Skim Milk
Carrot SticksCelery Sticks
Red BeansLow-Fat SausageRiceDark Greens, ChoiceCornbread MuffinsMixed Fruit Salad
Canned FruitToast (Cinnamon or Jelly)Low-fat or Skim Milk
Baked PotatoChili and CheeseGreen BeansLeftover FruitPuddingLow-fat or Skim Milk
Salmon CroquettesMashed PotatoesCopper PenniesBiscuitsApple Crisp
JuiceDry CerealEgg-in-the-BreadLow-fat or Skim Milk
Peanut Butter and Jelly SandwichBananaCelery SticksCarrot SticksLow-fat or Skim Milk
Yogurt and RaisinsMay add some dry cereal
Tomato SoupCrackersHamburger PattiesMacaroni and CheeseBroccoli SpearsSeasonal Fruit
Seasonal FruitGritsLow-fat or Skim Milk
Bean BurritosWhole Kernel CornApplesauceLow-fat or Skim Milk
Roasted ChickenMashed PotatoesCanned PeasBread SliceFruit Cobbler
Canned FruitCheese ToastLow-fat or Skim Milk
Leftover Meat SandwichTortilla ChipsGelatin with Canned FruitLow-fat or Skim Milk
Peanut Butter Snack LoafOne slice
Taco SaladMixed VegetablesSeasonal FruitGraham Crackers
Seasonal FruitPancakesLow-fat or Skim Milk
Homemade PizzaGarden SaladLeftover FruitLow-fat or Skim Milk
Celery SticksTuna Fish or Peanut Butter
Hamburger-Macaroni CasseroleWhole Kernel CornGarden SaladCanned Fruit
1. Read the Nutrition Facts labels on food products to determine how much of each nutrient is in the food. You can find out how many calories, fat grams, milligrams of sodium and amounts of other nutrients are in the food you are about to eat.
The label also tells you what type of ingredients the product is made of. Juice is a good example: if you were looking for orange juice and Juice A had orange juice as its first ingredient and Juice B had water and high fructose corn syrup as its first ingredients, you would know that Juice A had a lot more real fruit juice than Juice B. Juice B would be more of an orange drink than an orange juice. Because real juice has more vitamins and minerals, this would be the better choice. By law, Juice B could not be labeled orange juice. Use the labels to help you make the most nutritious selections.
2. Find the Sell by … and Best by … dates on food products, especially meat, dairy and bread products. This tells you when to purchase them so that you buy the freshest foods available. Fresher foods keep longer in the refrigerator and pantry.
3. Read the front of the food label to find out the weight of the food. This tells you how much food you get in the package. For example, if you were looking for noodles and saw two different packages, you could look at the weight to find out which package contained more noodles.
4. Plan your meals for the week (or two weeks if possible), make a shopping list and buy only what you need. This will save both time and money. You will know what you need at the grocery store, so you won't buy foods you don't need. You will also know what to prepare and won't have to figure out what's for dinner every night.
Take advantage of specials or coupons on foods you know you will need. Prepare some foods early and freeze or refrigerate them until time to eat.
5. Plan meals with foods that vary in shape, color, texture, temperature and flavor. This produces a plate that is pleasing to both the eye and the palate. For example, if you serve spaghetti and meat sauce, a cool crisp salad is a good complement, along with some French bread. Or, vegetable soup served with a cheese sandwich and an apple would be another good combination of texture, temperature and flavor.
6. To avoid waste, serve foods that most of your family enjoys. When introducing new foods or less popular items, serve them with more acceptable choices and encourage your family to taste some of each food offered.
7. When trying to provide the suggested number of servings of each group, remember that combination foods can contribute servings of several different groups.
For example, a serving of spaghetti with meat sauce will provide about one bread and grain serving, one meat serving and one vegetable serving. A couple of slices of pizza may equal two grain servings, one to two dairy servings, one to two protein servings and one-half to three-fourths cup of vegetables. (Remember: this food also gives you some extra fat!)
Even some desserts, such as fruit cobbler, can contribute bread, fruit or milk and dairy servings.
8. Store dry goods, such as flour, cornmeal, rice, grits and oatmeal, in air-tight packages in the refrigerator to prolong shelf life. Keeping these products cool decreases the chance for weevils or other pests to infest them.
1. Practice planning a three-day menu for your family that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. Make sure that the menu for each whole day includes at least two servings of meat, two servings of dairy foods, two servings of fruit, three servings of vegetables and six servings of breads and grains.
Make a shopping list, purchase the foods on your list and actually use the menus for three days in a row. Is it easier to prepare meals when you know what you'll serve and have all the ingredients on hand?
2. Practice using correct serving sizes when you eat. Measure your portions using measuring cups or weighing food if you have a scale so that you will know what a portion should look like. Are these the portion sizes you normally eat?
If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, this might help you!
3. Explain how MyPlate works to someone else. This will help you understand it even better.
4. Use the Thrifty Food Plan to plan nutritious meals within a modest budget. The lesson "Managing Your Food Dollar" includes more information on the Thrifty Food Plan, 2000. Websites to visit:
Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals
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