Re-Shape your Plate

Regular exercise combined with proper nutrition is very important to reach healthy lifestyle goals. From now through the month of March, National Nutrition Month® is a great opportunity to become more aware of how much is consumed. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has developed this annual campaign to provide the public with nutrition education and information. The focus is placed on the importance of making informed food choices while developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Taking the food pyramid and translating it into what goes onto your plate is what Get Your Plate in Shape is all about. It is designed to help teach people about healthy servings. How much is too much? The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines the differences between portion and servings, “A ‘portion’ is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or in your own kitchen. A “serving” size is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts. Sometimes, the portion size and serving size match; sometimes they do not. Keep in mind that the serving size on the Nutrition Facts is not a recommended amount of food to eat. It is a quick way of letting you know the calories and nutrients in a certain amount of food.”

Take into account the following tips to help visualize portion sizes:

Serving Sizes Everyday Objects

¼ cup of raisins or nuts one egg or a golf ball

1 cup of cereal a fist

½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato ½ baseball

1 medium fruit a baseball

2 Tablespoons of peanut butter a ping-pong ball

3 oz meat or chicken deck of cardspastedGraphic.pdf

Over the course of day, consider eating foods from each food group: vegetables, grains, protein, fruits, and dairies. Half of your plate should consist of vegetables and fruits. Have fun with all that Mother Nature has to offer choosing from dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Fresh and in season are always best, but frozen or canned vegetables and fruits are a great option during the rest of the year. When purchasing the latter make sure that select “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables. Similarly when purchasing canned fruits make certain that they are packaged in water or 100% juice.

The other half of your plate should be divided between grains and protein. Consider 100% whole-grains when eating breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, and brown rice. The protein portion should include any of the following each week:  seafood, nuts and beans, lean meat, poultry, and eggs. Dairy is not on this healthy plate but rather on the side. Think about low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese to fill up this side serving.

Eating balanced meals is key to keeping fit, but exercise is equally important. Make sure to get some type of regular exercise daily and you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Which is your favorite vegetable?