Healthy Living

ChooseMyPlate.gov

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Balancing Calories

MyPlate Icon

  • MyPlate is part of a larger communications initiative based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices.
  • MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully; it is not intended to change consumer behavior alone.
  • MyPlate illustrates the five food groups using a familiar mealtime visual, a place setting.

Balancing Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy and nutrition education activities.

The Dietary Guidelines are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for Americans ages 2 and older about consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active to attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.

What foods are in the Grains Group?

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

Grains are divided into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains.

Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel - the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples include: whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, brown rice

Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Some examples of refined grain products are: white flour, degermed cornmeal, white bread, white rice

Most refined grains are enriched. This means certain B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron are added back after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Check the ingredient list on refined grain products to make sure that the word "enriched" is included in the grain name. Some food products are made from mixtures of whole grains and refined grains.

Find more details at ChooseMyPlate.gov

What foods are in the Vegetable Group?

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups, based on their nutrient content.

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What foods are in the Fruit Group?

Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.

Find more details at ChooseMyPlate.gov

What foods are included in the Dairy Group?

All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group.

Find more details at ChooseMyPlate.gov

What foods are in the Protein Foods Group?

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group. For more information on beans and peas, see Beans and Peas Are Unique Foods.

Select a variety of protein foods to improve nutrient intake and health benefits, including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. Young children need less, depending on their age and calories needs. The advice to consume seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat.

Find more details at ChooseMyPlate.gov

ChooseMyPlate.gov

The website features practical information and tips to help Americans build healthier diets.

It features selected messages to help consumer focus on key behaviors. Selected messages include:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

ChooseMyPlate.gov includes much of the consumer and professional information formerly found on MyPyramid.gov.

All information included in this section is provided by the USDA. For more information please visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.