Guest Blog: Connie Evers – Happy Birthday to MyPlate!
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By Connie Evers MS, RD, LD – Nutrition for Kids

Connie’s Healthy Eating Blog – Happy Birthday to MyPlate! offers Americans a blueprint for healthy eating

One year ago, Americans were introduced to MyPlate, a food guide which includes the five food groups depicted in the optimal proportions. The MyPlate graphic makes it perfectly clear that half of our plate should be fruits and vegetables, with protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy rounding out the picture.

Many wondered whether the symbol was too simplistic and questioned how a picture of a place setting could promote positive changes in our lopsided (and mostly unhealthy) eating habits. After one year of working my MyPlate, I’m optimistic that this tool can indeed guide Americans toward healthier habits. While the MyPlate graphic is simple in design, the accompanying website has all the tools needed to learn, plan, choose and analyze your family’s eating and exercise habits. If you haven’t checked out the MyPlate website, it’s time to point your browser to

Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started in the process of guiding your family’s plates towards the MyPlate model:

Determine your Daily Food Plan
The first step is to create a personal food plan based on your estimated caloric need. Go to the Choose MyPlate “Daily Food Plan” and enter your information. Encourage family members to create personalized food plans as well. You will notice differences in the food plan recommendations based on age, gender, height, weight and activity level.

Get inspired with the Healthy Eating Tips
There is a wealth of information included in the “Healthy Eating Tips” section. A virtual nutrition course for your family, there are tips, recipes, handouts and information about each food group, as well as the “ten tips” handouts which covers a host of topics including food budgeting, vegetarian food plans, controlling sodium, beverage choices, kid-friendly food choices and much more.

Kids Can Blast Off to Planet Power
The highlight of the children’s section is the “Blast Off” game, an interactive flash game that challenges kids to reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. “Fuel” tanks for each food group help kids keep track of their food choices.

Keep on track with SuperTracker
Once you know the basics, you can used the advanced features of the MyPlate SuperTracker to log your food and fitness. By entering your data into this site, you can track how well you are doing, set goals for improvement and even access weight management tools.

Take small steps and keep moving!
Using the MyPlate guide to move toward better family nutrition and fitness habits takes time, commitment and cooperation from all family members. Make a plan, set goals and keep taking small steps towards change. For example, try a new healthy recipe each week, plant a family vegetable garden, pack healthy snacks for games and outings, choose water over sweetened beverages or play active games as a family. Most importantly, be sure to get the kids involved in making choices about tasty, healthy foods and fun, family fitness!

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