As a result of the tipping scales and expanding waistlines of Americans, in 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new nutrition guidelines called Choose MyPlate. The new guidelines features an easy-to-read and easily customized plate divided into sections promoting the importance of choosing a variety of foods to support a healthy diet. The food groups with their corresponding colors are: grains - orange, vegetables - green, fruits - red, dairy - blue, and proteins - purple.
The key messages of the new Choose MyPlate are: All food and beverage choices matter - so focus on a wide variety, proper quantity, and nutrition content by choosing a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Read nutrition labels carefully, and be sure you're making choices that are low-sodium, and low-sugar.
Eat the right quantity of calories for you - meaning your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Always choose nutrient-dense calories, that are low in sodium and added sugars.
Make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle - and think about the little victories. Make substitutes wherever you can, choose to make at least half of your plate of fruits and vegetables, and get in more physical activity. The small changes are what go a long way!
Create a community where healthy choices are available and affordable - and work towards supporting that food system. Choose local, fresh foods. Talk to policymakers, families, and business partners about making positive changes. Shop at your local farmer's market, and talk to the food growers. Build a community around good health!
Spend some time reviewing these guidelines, and understanding what you can do to become healthier by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov.