Balancing your food plate


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides nutrition guidelines for Americans to help them eat healthily. For a long time, the USDA has been showing its recommendations using a food pyramid. In 2011, he moved on to a new chart on a plate full of the exact amounts of food. It is known as MyPlate and focuses on the variety, amount and nutrients for each meal. A healthy diet is important for controlling or preventing chronic diseases and for a better quality of life. Use MyPlate to help create a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The road to greater health

Five food groups make up the dinner plate.

  • Vegetables. The USDA recommends an average of 2.5 cups of vegetables a day. Your intake can include many forms of vegetables as well as 100% vegetable juice. There are 5 subgroups of vegetables based on the nutrients they contain. These are:
    • Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli or spinach.
    • Red and orange vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes.
    • Vegetables containing starch, such as corn.
    • Beans and peas.
    • Other vegetables such as cucumbers and cauliflower.
  • Fruits. The USDA recommends an average of 1.5 cups of fruit a day. Your intake can include many forms of fruit, as well as 100% fruit juice.
  • Grain. The USDA recommends an average equivalent of 6 ounces of grain per day. An example of the equivalent of 1 ounce is 1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. There are 2 subgroups of grains based on the nutrients they contain.
    • Whole grains are made from whole grains. At least half of the grains you eat every day should be whole grains. Examples include whole wheat flour, oatmeal and brown rice.
    • Refined grains are ground and have less nutrients. However, some products can be “enriched”. This means that certain vitamins are added to them. Fortified foods are better for you. Examples include white flour, white rice and white bread.
  • Proteins. The USDA recommends an average of 5 ounces of protein equivalent per day. An example of the equivalent of 1 ounce is 1 ounce of boiled meat, 1 egg or 1 sliced ​​meat for lunch. You need to eat a variety of proteins, including:
    • red meat
    • domestic birds
    • fish and mussels
    • eggs
    • Nuts and seeds
    • soy products
    • beans and peas
  • Dairy products. The USDA recommends an average of 3 cups of dairy per day. Your consumption may include milk or dairy products and their nutrients. For example, cheese is a form of dairy, but butter is not. Try eating or drinking low-fat or low-fat dairy products.

Butters are not counted as a food group in MyPlate. However, they contain nutrients. Make sure you eat them only in limited portions. The USDA recommends an average of 5 teaspoons of oil per day. There is a variety of oils made from different plants and nuts, as well as from fish. Solid fats, such as butter or chicken fat, often come from animal foods. Before choosing oils, see the ingredients of nutrition label. Oils and fats may include fats good and bad.

Aspects to be considered

Use USDA MyPlate to balance your diet. Choose a variety of foods that are rich in nutrients. Keep in mind that the amount you need to eat from the 5 food groups each day varies. Your gender, age and activity level determine your portions. Talk to your doctor about your diet. Your doctor may make suggestions based on your health and any conditions you may have. Some programs and applications can help you track your food intake. Some will balance food intake with the physical activity you do.

Almost everyone needs to do some physical activity every day. Talk to your doctor if you have a health problem that may prevent or limit your physical activity. On average, children should be active for at least 60 minutes every day. Adults should be active for at least 150 minutes each week. Exercises for children and adults should include a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity. Try different activities to maximize your health benefits.

  • Aerobics, such as running, cycling or swimming.
  • Strengthen muscles such as climbing or rocking.
  • Strengthen bones, such as jumping rope or sports.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Are there any restrictions I need to make in my diet?
  • How much physical activity should I do per day or week?
  • What chronic diseases can be improved with a healthy diet?

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Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians

This information provides an overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and for more information on this topic.


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