Apple A Day

21st Century Oncology Blog

Apple A Day

21st Century Oncology Blog

Following Nutritional Guidelines by Using the Food Plate

January 20, 2014

When was the last time you evaluated your nutritional requirements by looking at the Food Plate (formerly Food Pyramid) that has been established by the USDA? Chances are it’s been a while (if you’ve ever done it at all) but like the old saying goes… better late than never. And now is as good a time as any since many people are observing National Nutrition Month by reevaluating their diets.

Nutrition is an increasingly popular topic of conversation these days as more and more individuals are starting to take their health into their own hands and work to improve it. Whether you’re trying to keep a New Year’s resolution or you just want to improve your day-to-day health, it’s never a bad idea to evaluate what you’re eating and make sure you’re getting all the nutritional requirements your body craves to function at the highest possible level.

What is the Food Plate?

The Food Plate (often referred to as “MyPlate”) replaced the traditional Food Pyramid in 2011 as a more accurate and appropriate way to portion out different types of food when creating menus and eating plans for daily consumption.

Just like the Food Pyramid, MyPlate focuses on the six main types of food: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, proteins and oils.

What’s the Difference Between MyPlate and the Food Pyramid?

MyPlate was designed to be simpler than the Food Pyramid and is meant to represent a traditional dinner plate for individuals of all ages. When you look at the plate, there are four sections: fruits, vegetables, protein and grains. Off to the side, you’ll see a separate section for dairy.

Following the pyramid could be confusing for a lot of people as they try to decipher what they’re supposed to be eating. MyPlate takes a common daily symbol (the dinner plate) and translates it into an easy-to-read guide for eating healthy, balanced meals.

What Does MyPlate Say I Should Eat?

The MyPlate message is simple: ½ of your plate should be filled with fruit and vegetables. When you have grains, half of them should be whole grains and one quarter of your plate should be protein. The team behind MyPlate also recommends that consumers purchase low fat or fat-free milk.

If you want to translate this into how many servings a day you should be consuming, has charts based on age requirements for each food group that you can follow:

  • Fruits: Anywhere from 1-2 cups / day (depending on age)
  • Vegetables: Anywhere from 1 – 2 ½ cups / day (depending on age)
  • Grains: Anywhere from 3 – 8 ounce equivalents (depending on age)
  • Protein: Anywhere from 2 – 6 ½ ounce equivalents (depending on age)
  • Dairy: Anywhere from 2-3 cups (depending on age)
  • Oil Allowance: Anywhere from 2 – 8 teaspoons (depending on age)

What is the Bottom Line?

The bottom line is that your nutrition is worth taking the time to ensure that you’re on the right track. The next time you plan a week’s menu or make your grocery list, check it against MyPlate and see if you’re meeting your nutritional requirements for a happy and healthy body.