Last week we talked about how to ‘Fight BAC’, and this week we got a taste of the Mediterranean Burrito!
Today let’s talk about the best way to fill up your plate. The USDA put out a great picture diagram to help you remember what needs to go into each meal:
Let’s start with my two all time favorite groups. Fruit and Veggies!
Fruits and Veggies, my friends, are AMAZING. Here are a couple reasons why:
- They make your dish more exciting with colors
- They have the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to grow and stay healthy
- There are always multiple ways to prepare each fruit and vegetable
- They are full of fiber which can keep you belly full and healthy
- They are great for mealtime, snack time, AND dessert time
Tip: At the beginning of the week fill 5 sandwich bags with veggies and fruits such as carrots, cucumbers, grapes, apples, etc. for an easy snack to grab after school.
On the bottom right of the plate you will notice the purple section that says “protein”. Protein is important for your body because it helps repair and build up your muscles. Protein will break down in your digestive tract and give your body energy over a longer period of time, so having a little bit of protein with each meal (or in a snack) will keep your tummy full for longer.
Another great thing about protein is that it comes in many different forms. The goal is to choose ‘lean’ protein options such as beans, nuts, eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, and more!
Tip: Add nuts to a salad or parfait for a boost of protein after exercising.
Next on the MyPlate diagram is ‘Grains’. Grains can be found in breads, cold and hot cereals, and more. The goal is to make half your grains whole. Look for labels that say ‘whole wheat”, or “whole grain”.
Tip: Next time you are at the grocery store, check out the different breads or grain bins and try to spot out 4 foods with whole grains.
Lastly, we come to our side of dairy. Dairy is a great way to get in extra minerals, protein, and other nutrients in one tasty bite! Dairy is anything that comes from milk including cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese. A glass of milk with dinner, or yogurt with fruit for breakfast are both great ways to get in your dairy each day.
Tip: When choosing out dairy products look at the ingredient label and find the products with lower amounts of sugar. Usually flavored products are high in sugar and take away some nutritional value.
Think you have the facts down? Test your knowledge with this crossword puzzle:
Having trouble remembering the details? Listen to this tune for some more MyPlate fun:
In summary, you can make the ultimate plate with this equation:
Load ½ the plate with fruits and vegetables
Add a lean protein
Make ½ the grains whole
Have a side of dairy
Print this checklist to help you keep track of your MyPlate ‘Wins’: MyPlate Daily Checklist
Some days we might not have the ultimate plate at every meal, but if you are running low on one part, just have a snack to make it up. For example: No vegetables at breakfast? Grab a bag of carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers for an extra boost during snack time!
Happy MyPlate Creating!