MyPlate Food Guide (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth

To help people make smart food choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) designed an easy-to-follow symbol : MyPlate. The plate graphic, with its different food groups, is a reminder of what — and how much — we should put on our plates to stay healthy .

How MyPlate Works

MyPlate has sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein foods, ampere well as a “ cup ” on the side for dairy. Each section is coloring material coded ( k for veggies, red for fruits, orange for grains, purple for protein, and bluing for dairy ) so you can see at a glance how much of these foods to eat .
Myplate reminds us to :

  • Choose variety: The best meals have a balance of items from different food groups.
  • Make half of your plate vegetables and fruits.
  • Make at least half of your grain servings whole grains.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water instead of soda, sports drinks, and other sugary drinks.
  • Avoid large portions.

Five Food Groups

different food groups have different nutrients and health benefits. If you regularly skip a group, over fourth dimension you wo n’t get the best nutrition.

1. Vegetables

The vegetable share of MyPlate is shown in green. It ‘s one of the largest sections on the plate. That ‘s because vegetables provide many of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Veggies are naturally low in calories, and the character in them helps us feel full .
Choosing variety is important when it comes to vegetables : Dark green vegetables ( like broccoli, spinach, and boodle ) provide unlike nutrients from orange and crimson vegetables ( like squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes ). The “ eat your colors ” message that you might have learned in grad educate is a good one to follow throughout your life sentence .

2. Fruits

Like veggies, fruits have vitamins, minerals, and roughage. The red section of MyPlate is slenderly smaller than the green, but together fruits and veggies should fill half your plate. whole fruit is the best option : fruit juices have more boodle and calories per serving than solid yield, and you ‘re not getting the fiber .
As with veggies, it ‘s full to mix up your fruit choices : a colored fruit cup is more than barely pretty — it ‘s a nutrition power station .

3. Grains

The orange section of MyPlate is about one quarter of the plate. wholly grains ( like wheaten flour ) are more alimentary and have lots of dietary fiber that can help you feel entire longer. Refined grains ( white flour ) are processed, removing vitamins, minerals, and roughage. Most polished grains are enriched, which means that some of the nutrients, but not fiber, are added back after action .
At least half of the grains you eat should be solid grains like wheaten boodle, brown rice, or oatmeal .

4. Protein

High-protein foods help the body construct and maintain its tissues. They besides have crucial vitamins and minerals, like iron.

The purple section of MyPlate is about a quarter of the plate. Foods high in protein include beef, poultry, seafood, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Tofu and vegetable burgers or vegetarian meat substitutes are besides good sources of protein. When eating meats, choose lean or low-fat options .

5. Dairy

The blue circle on the MyPlate graphic represents dairy products that are rich in calcium, like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Calcium-fortified soy milk is besides included in the dairy group. Calcium builds potent bones and teeth. Choose nonfat or low-fat dairy products most of the time .
The blue sky r-2 shows dairy as a “ side ” to your meal, like a glass of milk. But dairy can be depart of your meal, like a cheese quesadilla, or served as a bite or dessert. yogurt with bracing fruit or a fruit smoothie made with low-fat milk make great desserts .

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How to Make it Work for You

It ‘s easy to follow the MyPlate graphic if you ‘re eating a “ meat, starch, and vegetable ” meal where everything is prepare individually .
But what if you ‘re having a sandwich or a meal that mixes different foods together, like a salad, pasta smasher, stew, or stir-fry ? That ‘s when you need to use the principles behind the plate as a usher rather of copying it precisely .
For a sandwich, let MyPlate guide you on what to choose. A healthy sandwich might start with two slices of wheaten bread — your grains. Add a slice of meat, cheese, or other protein. then fill the sandwich with vegetables like boodle, tomato, or grated carrots. Add a side of fruit and a cup of low-fat white milk and you ‘ve got your balance meal.

For one-dish meals ( or salads ), make surely that half of what you ‘re eating are vegetables and fruits, about a quarter is lean protein, and a quarter is grain, preferably whole grain. For exercise, a spaghetti dish could be wheaten pasta with a meatball, tossed with chop tomato along with other veggies, like spinach or carrots. A stir-fry might be mix veggies with a few pieces of bean curd or chicken and embrown rice. Avoid or limit high-fat sauces ( like cream sauces ) in one-dish meals and do n’t add besides much dressing to salads .
MyPlate is alone a steer. not every meal you eat will have every food group, but try to include three or more. Take breakfast, for case : If you have a wheaten bagel with cream tall mallow for breakfast, add some yield and possibly a field glass of milk. You can make up any missing food groups, like veggies, later in the day .

More Tips on Eating Right

The USDA ‘s MyPlate web site offers lots of healthy surviving guidelines. Visit to get personalized recommendations about which foods to eat and how much .

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