When I was a kid, we grew up learning about the food pyramid:
But the food pyramid is no longer. As of June 2011,Â Michelle Obama rolled out the USDA’s MyPlate approach.
According to the site, the MyPlate approach consists of:
Enjoy your food, but eat less
Avoid oversized portions
Foods to Increase
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Make at least half your grains whole grains
Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Foods to Reduce
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers
Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Mostly, eating healthy and using common sense when it comes to eating. WAY easier said than done! But the MyPlate approach does make it easy; it promotes fruits and vegetables (both cover half the circle), grains occupy an additional quarter, as well as proteins such as meat, fish and poultry. A glass of milk rests to the side. Simple, right?
Now as a mom, trying to get all five food groups into one meal just isn’t possible most of the time. There are definitely some concerns about this approach, here’s what you should know.
Not Every Meal Has To Consist Of All Five Things
So you didn’t serve apples or bananas with your meatloaf and green beans. That’s okay. Why not make fruit a snack? Or use the milk and fruit to make a smoothie? Get creative!
Fruits and Veggies Are Worth Half The Plate
Don’t get hung up on measuring out food or even literally using a plate every time you serve your family something. Ask yourself, ‘Is half of what my kids eat everyday a fruit or a vegetable?’ That is the goal. No family or mom is perfect, and the best we can do it reach to achieve the goal.
Food Should Be Fun
I’ll be honest: if those veggies aren’t slathered in ranch, ketchup, or hummus, my kids probably won’t be interested in eating them. And that ranch dip? It’s full of fat. But you don’t need to give up fats…just use them in moderation. A tablespoon or two of dressing is fine to go with the veggies.
Treats Are Not Entirely Off Limits
Having a small dessert everyday is okay, and most of us (and definitely our kids) look forward to it. The USDA is trying to emphasize healthy foods, but there’s definitely room in even the most nutritious diet for a small treat. Try a piece chocolate or a cookie. Or what about dried fruits and homemade whipped cream? Trail mix anyone?
I have to admit I really like the MyPlate approach much better than the food pyramid. It’s simple to remember, and makes sense. I think one’s diet should be flexible and that the occasional treat is a must.
Now if only I could get my kids to agree with me on that “occasional” treat part!