Health: Get a fresh start on healthful eating this summer
On June 2, just in time for the summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the federal government released MyPlate, its new icon to help Americans make healthful food choices. The premise of the new design, which replaces the 2005 Food Guide Pyramid, is getting our plates back in balance at every meal.
Key messages of MyPlate are:
- 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 percent) milk.
Foods to Reduce
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals â€• and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
One of the recommendations with MyPlate is that you customize your plate to suit you: your food preferences, your culture and your budget. Instead of concentrating on food measurement, MyPlate emphasizes balance. At each meal, when you choose modest portions of lean protein and whole grains, and then fill up half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, you are on your way toward great health.
Tips on eating healthy this summer:
- Visit your local farmers market and see what looks good! Right now, asparagus and strawberries are in season. Soon tomatoes will be turning red, and zucchini will be so plentiful your gardening friends will beg you to take some home. Have you ever had kale? Step out of your comfort zone and try something new this summer.
- During our sweltering hot days this summer, quench your thirst with pure, cold water. For a little bit of flavor, add fresh orange or cucumber slices.
- Give your oven a rest and try foil packets on the grill or over a campfire. Add a portion of lean meat, a sliced medium potato and as many veggies as you want ... green beans, zucchini, onion, broccoli, red pepper, carrots. The list is endless. Seal up the foil package, cook over the grill or campfire until sizzling and the meat is fully cooked.
- In Michigan, we are so lucky to have plentiful blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches and apples locally grown. They make a wonderful sweet treat after a meal.
Dana Schaad, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and IHA Nutrition Specialist. Dana provides nutrition counseling in many areas, including weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and pediatrics. She also focuses on overall health and wellness as well as chronic disease prevention. For more information, locations or to read more posts from the IHA Cares Blog, please visit www.ihacares.com.