One year ago this month, the MyPlate icon replaced the familiar Food Guide Pyramid as an easy way to literally “picture” what a healthy meal looks like. Plenty of details are behind the icon – you can read all about it at ChooseMyPlate.gov.
If you’re new to the healthy eating arena, the website’s information will be extremely helpful. Do expect it to take some time to digest and fully understand details like which foods fit into which groups and how much from each food group you need. It can get complicated. For example, beans, dried peas, eggs, peanut butter and other nuts and seeds can all be counted as servings from the protein group. Beans and peas can also count as servings from the vegetable group, and nut butters, nuts and seeds, even olives and avocados can count toward your oils allowance. Did you even know you had an oil allowance?
To keep it simple, remember this. If your daily calorie requirement is in the 2,000-calorie range, you’ll need:
- 5 to 6 ounces of lean protein
- 6 ounces from the grain group (half of those choices should be whole grain)
- 2 1/2 cups of vegetables
- 2 cups of fruit
- 3, 8-ounce servings from the dairy group
Use the following recipes to practice your MyPlate strategy, and find out just how easy, and how satisfying, it is to eat healthy.
To include all five food groups in these menus, drink low fat 1% or fat-free milk with each of these meals. But if milk just won’t do, make it a calorie-free drink like unsweetened ice tea or water, and make sure you get your three servings from the dairy group at other meals during the day.
- Crock Pot Skinny Pork BBQ (serve oven-baked red potato wedges and green beans with a mixture of cantaloupe chunks and red grapes for dessert)
- Veggie Burrito Bowl
- Quinoa Protein Bowl (this can be a great side dish — be sure to add a few slices of fresh avocado and have watermelon for dessert)
- Tangy Steak & Arugula (serve with whole grain dinner rolls, and add fresh strawberries with a light sprinkle of brown sugar for dessert)
- Lentils & Brown Rice (use whole-grain crackers and serve raspberries or blackberries topped with vanilla yogurt for dessert)
See how easy that is? Now, head to your commissary to pick up ingredients and let’s get cooking!