The United States Department of Agriculture's MyPlate symbol provides a simple visual guide about how to build a healthy plate. MyPlate was introduced in June 2011 to replace MyPyramid, and emphasized the need for an individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle by showing the foods and amounts that are right for individuals based on age, gender and activity. MyPlate provides actionable advice that is can be easily translated to mealtime.
Below is a brief explanation of each element of MyPlate and a recipe idea or tip to get you off to a good start.
Balancing Calories, by showing the recommended types and amounts of food on MyPlate. By enjoying the foods you eat, and being mindful of how much you are eating, you can help balance your calories simply by eating less.
Foods to Increase, symbolized by the five color-coded food groups on and around the plate. The plate serves as a quick visual reminder that half the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the other half is made up of grains (preferably whole grains) and lean sources of protein. Lastly, non-fat or low-fat dairy should be included to round out the meal.
Foods to Reduce, are reminders to use the Nutrition Facts Panel when purchasing packaged foods. Choose foods with lower calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Choose low- or reduced-sodium products or no-added salt products whenever possible. Also remember to trade sugar-sweetened beverages for water.