Get Your Plate in Shape!

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March 1, 2012

In recognition of National Nutrition Month, our Registered Dietitians are working together to encourage the community to "Get Your Plate in Shape."

The "Get Your Plate in Shape" campaign helps simplify meal planning and takes the place of the Food Guide Pyramid. Last June, the USDA retired the Food Guide Pyramid and replaced it with ChooseMyPlate.gov. Our government has a great web site www.ChooseMyPlate.gov that is packed with tools to help you get your plate in shape. From calculating the calories in the foods you eat to telling you the energy you spent riding your bike, the site provides the answers. You can log in and develop your personal plan.

Barbie Rawson, R.D., working mom of two active children, believes that planning is the key to adhering to the principles of shaping up your plate. "Being successful in making changes starts with a plan... A plan to get the knowledge you need and then the motivation to put the plan into action. Family and friends can encourage healthy changes. So, make it a positive family affair."

Evaluate your family's current habits and plan weekly menus that incorporate more fruits and vegetables. The National Academy of Nutrition has an excellent tool for helping your children get on the right track from the beginning. Take a look at www.eatright.org/kids and see all of the wonderful tips on the Kids Eat Right page.

Sky Joiner R.D., says "Rethinking the way you plan and eat your meals can lead to better health, bite by bite." Traditionally, most of us were taught to start with the meat when planning meals. To get your plate in shape, reverse this meal planning thought process by thinking first of what vegetables you are going to eat. Then move to fruits. Covering one half of your plate with Fruits and vegetables is your goal. An easy way to make sure that you are getting a variety of fruits and veggies is to pick different colors. Get your family involved. Let them choose. Then move to the meat or lean protein food. Let the protein source cover one fourth of your plate. Next is your whole grain food choice. Leave one fourth of your plate for whole grains. Adding a glass of dairy rounds out your meal planning and helps get your plate in shape.

Various activities are planned throughout the month of March to reach out to the people of our area. Dietitians will be on hand at Bonita Lakes Walmart on Saturday, March 24th to give free body mass index screenings and healthy meal planning information for grocery shoppers. The dietitians are also leading a canned food drive for Love's Kitchen. Anderson Regional Medical Center North and South have collection boxes located in the cafeteria.