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  • Start Simple with My Plate

    Save USDA's new start simple campaign with MyPlate

    Start Simple with My Plate

    On March 13, 2019, I received an email with the following press release: USDA Announces Launch of the Start Simple with MyPlate Campaign. Intrigued, I clicked to read and ended up spening a good hour or so browsing the USDA website. Start Simple is a new campaign, in conjunction with the existing MyPlate initiative, that aims to promote healthy eating by providing easy tips and ideas for eating better.

    If you aren’t familiar, the MyPlate concept (pictured below) replaced the archaic food pyramid in 2011 and is a simple way of promoting a balanced diet. It utilizes a plate divided into 4 groups: vegetables, fruits, protein, and grains, with vegetables and grains being a slightly larger portion than fruits and protein. If you want to take it further than that, the USDA website provides more detail about each food group and the specific foods, along with portions, that fall into each category. For example, here is a link to their protein foods page. The MyPlate initiative is a great learning tool for anyone and everyone, but especially for kids learning about nutrition.

    Start Simple Tips

    Below is a sample of some of my favorite Start Simple recommendations, but be sure to read the full list on the USDA’s Start Simple with MyPlate webpage. I have added some of my own notes (in italics) in addition to the website recommendations.

    1. Cook a variety of colorful veggies. Make extra vegetables and save some for later. Use them for a stew, soup, or a pasta dish. Cooking vegetables in large quantities so that you have leftovers ensures you have vegetables on hand when you need a quick meal.
    2. Cook at home! Preparing your own food helps you decide the amount of salt used in meals. Going beyond control salt intake, cooking at home allows you to control everything that goes into your meal. Unnecessary amounts of sugar and fats can be hidden in already prepared foods.
    3. Help kids learn about added sugars in foods. Read the ingredients and Nutrition Facts label and compare different foods together. Teaching kids about nutrition is so important. Maintaining their own health to avoid problems later in life is a necessary life skill that needs to be learned.
    4. Fruits can help you satisfy your sweet cravings. Make it fun with fruit kabobs using bananas, apples, pears, and orange sections. If you battle with eating too many sweets, a simple way to change that habit is to reach for fruit instead of candy, cookies, etc.

    Overall, there is a lot of good information on the MyPlate website. Check it out and then let’s have a conversation. You can connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, or via email. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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