If there were ever a good time to revamp your family’s diet, it’s now. According to recent estimates, most Americans may be obese by 2030 if current trends continue.
To help Americans figure out how to build a better diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last year retired the well-recognized, but confusing food pyramid and adopted a new healthy-eating icon: the colorful MyPlate, which is divided more clearly and simply into the basic food groups. The MyPlate guide, which is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, looks like your standard dinner plate, quartered into sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. A smaller circle appears next to the plate, representing dairy.
Here are some general MyPlate eating tips:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make at least half your grains whole
- Switch to skim or 1% milk
- Vary your proteins
For a typical 2,000-calorie diet, the government recommends daily 2 cups of fruit, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of protein and 3 cups of dairy. But, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t know how much a cup of fruit is exactly or 6 ounces of grains. So, we asked nutrition experts to interpret the guidelines for us, and provide a week’s worth of healthy sample menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The meal plans that follow not only meet the MyPlate guidelines, but they also incorporate foods from Healthland’s “31 Healthiest Foods of All Time” guide. Use these menus as inspiration to give your weekly meals a nutrition makeover. You can also check out more healthy foods on our Pinterest page.