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Healthy Eating, Part 1: The ChooseMyPlate Method

When it comes to eating there are endless choices to make regarding diet or types of foods, but what is the right way to make those choices? There is no right way! Choose MyPlate is a guide to help Americans live a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. This website has many great resources, from nutritional education to food handling advice. It does not suggest any specific fad diets, just way to live and eat healthy every day.

Living a healthy lifestyle lasts your entire lifetime and means everything you eat and drink matters. When making a lifestyle change to be healthier, it is important to make small gradual changes versus drastic changes. You want this to be a permanent way of life and to be happy while doing it. MyPlate focuses on variation, amount, and nutrition when making choices for low fat, sodium, and sugar options.

The goal of the MyPlate method is to help people easily visualize what a balance diet look like. Using a 9-inch plate, a person should have equal parts of fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein. Below is a breakdown of each food group with examples and servings sizes

Fruits

Adults need about 2 cups of fruit a day. Fruits can be fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or 100% juice.

Examples of 1 cup of fruit:

  • 8 to 9” banana
  • 1 small apple or ½ of a large apple
  • 32 seedless grapes
  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 large peach
  • 1 medium pear
  • 3 medium or 2 large plums
  • 8 large strawberries
  • ½ cup of dried fruit

Vegetables

Adults need about 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables a day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried, raw, or cooked.

Examples of 1 cup of vegetables:

  • 1 cup of collards cooked down
  • 2 cups of raw spinach or lettuce
  • 2 medium carrots or 12 baby carrots
  • 1 large colored pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 large stalks of celery

Grains

Adults need about 6 ounces of grains a day and 3 of those ounces being whole grains. A grain product can be anything that comes from oats, wheat, rice, cornmeal, barley, or other cereal grains. Whole grains are important because the product contains fiber, iron, and many B vitamins, unlike refined grains or white products.

Examples of 1 ounce of grains:

  • 1 mini bagel
  • 2 small biscuits
  • 1 regular slice of bread
  • 4 slices of snack rye bread
  • 1 small slice of French bread
  • 1 small piece of corn bread
  • ½ an English muffin
  • 5-7 crackers
  • 1 small muffin
  • ½ cooked oatmeal or 1 instant packet
  • 1 large (4 ½”) pancake or 2 small (3”) pancake
  • 3 cups of popcorn
  • ½ cup of cooked rice
  • 1 small flour or corn tortilla

Protein

Adults need about 5-6 ounces of protein foods a day. Protein can come from any food that is meat, poultry, seafood, beans or peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds.

Examples of protein:

  • 1 small steak is 3-4 ounces
  • 1 small lean hamburger is 2-3 ounces
  • ½ small chicken breast 3 ounces
  • 1 can of tuna is 3-4 ounces
  • 1 salmon steak is 4-6 ounces
  • 1 egg is 1 ounce
  • 1 ounce of nuts or seeds is 2 ounces
  • 1 cup of split pea/bean/lentil soup is 2 ounces
  • 1 soy or bean burger patty is 2 ounces

Dairy

Adults need 3 cups of dairy daily. Food that made from milk and retains its calcium is part of this food group.

Examples of dairy:

  • 1 regular container of yogurt is 1 ounce
  • 1 slice of cheese is ½ cup
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese is 1 cup
  • 1/3 cup of shredded cheese is 1 cup
  • 1 scoop of ice cream is 1/3 cup
  • 1 cup of fortified soy milk

Have questions about ChooseMyPlate or want to work with one of our pharmacists one-on-one to improve your eating habits? Stop by or call us at 791-7043 today. Stay tuned for Part 2: How to Read a Nutrition Label!