Meet MyPlate: A Guide for Healthy Eating Article -
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Meet MyPlate: A Guide for Healthy Eating

See how the five food groups fit on your plate.

MyPlate is produced by the USDA and based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

What’s so great about MyPlate? For one, it’s simple and straightforward. The plate icon's segments display all the familiar food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. But unlike the pyramid, the plate instantly conveys a sense of proper proportion between them. At a glance, it’s easy to see that fruits and veggies should take up half of your plate.

Allrecipes is now working with Let's Move! and the Partnership for a Healthier America to help Americans find MyPlate-ready food options. Get ideas for creating healthy, tasty plates--check out our new MyPlate recipes collection, our MyPlate video collection, or the new MyPlate Pinterest board.

    Foods in the Vegetable Group

    As you can see, vegetables take up the most room on the plate. Foods in this group include veggies of all shapes and sizes and in all conditions. We’re talking fresh, frozen, and canned; dried and dehydrated; whole or cut up; raw or cooked. Beans and peas also fall into the vegetables category, as do juices made from 100% vegetables. Tomatoes and eggplants, which are technically fruits but are most often treated and eaten as veggies, qualify as vegetables.

    Foods in the Fruit Group

    As with vegetables, the fruit group includes all kinds of fruit whether plucked from a tree, poured from a tin, or pulled from the freezer; it includes whole fruits, cut fruits, pureed fruits, dried fruits, frozen fruits, and juice from 100% fruit.

    Foods in the Grains Group

    Grains come in two categories: whole and refined. A grain is considered “whole” if it includes the kernel’s bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole-wheat flour, brown rice, oatmeal, and cracked wheat (bulgur) are examples of whole grains.

    Refined grains, on the other hand, have had the bran and germ milled right out of them, along with dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Of course, the refined grains you find in the supermarket (white flour, white rice, and white bread) have been enriched with these lost vitamins and iron, but the fiber, unfortunately, is gone for good.

    The grains category includes tortillas, breakfast cereal, grits, popcorn, pasta, quinoa, cornmeal, barley, and buckwheat. ChooseMyPlate recommends that at least half of your grains are whole grains.

    Foods in the Protein Group

    In the protein category, we find meats (including wild game), poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, plus beans and peas (which pull double duty, as they also appear in the vegetable group). Naturally this meaty advice does not apply to vegetarians, who can meet their protein needs just fine by eating only the non-animal proteins listed above.

    With the protein group, MyPlate makes two suggestions: “go lean” and choose a variety of meats, including 8 ounces of seafood per week.

    Foods in the Dairy Group

    This is the smallest segment. It includes cheese, milk, yogurt, desserts made from milk (like ice cream and pudding), and soy milk. In this group, the USDA recommends fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.

    Helping Kids Make Choices

    The companion website includes advice to help families build better, healthier diets. 

    The website includes lists of foods to increase in your diet and foods to reduce. The website also goes into detail about daily recommendations for each food group, arranged by gender and age, and provides tip sheets and other resources.

    See some of our own tips, tricks, and recipes to help kids grow up healthy.

    Jun. 20, 2012 9:16 am
    Thank you for telling me all of this, I appreciate knowing it and it should go in that gigantic cookbook that I already have from collecting the recipes on Allrecipes. Thank you again, Linda Grein
    Feb. 28, 2013 5:06 pm
    I love seeing this on here! As a Nutrition Professional, it is really exciting to see MyPlate growing in popularity, thank you!
    Mar. 9, 2013 6:46 am
    Can you purchase one of these plates?
    Mar. 9, 2013 1:44 pm
    Love It!! Thank you
    Mar. 10, 2013 11:39 pm
    daisy - Amazon has many MyPlate items, including plates for kids and adults. :)
    Apr. 7, 2013 7:50 am
    I really appreciate your site, my only problem with my recipe box is, I can not put recipes in categories. I wonder if that would be possible, instead of having to go through 80, 90, or so recipes to find a specific one I could look at main course, desserts, soups,etc.
    Nov. 10, 2013 10:59 am
    So glad I found this. It's going to be great to try to get my eating back in order. Thanks so much!!!
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