Nutrition and MyPlate

What is nutrition?

Nutrition is a field of study that focuses on foods and substances in foods that help us to grow and stay healthy. The foods we eat provide energy (calories) and nutrients that are important for growth and maintaining healthy body functions. Nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water.

Why is good nutrition important?

Your diet, or the food and drinks you consume each day, will affect your health and how you feel now and in the future. Good nutrition is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with regular physical activity, your diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, poor diet and unhealthy eating habits can contribute to obesity.

How can I eat healthier?

Nutrition advice and information on certain websites or social media can be misleading and/or false. It is important to get your information from a trusted and accurate source. Two reliable sources for nutrition information are the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate. The Dietary Guidelines are science-based recommendations that provide guidance on the key elements of a healthy diet. MyPlate is a tool to help you follow the advice outlined in the Dietary Guidelines. MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet.

MyPlate

MyPlate

  • Fruits – Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Focus on whole fruits
  • Vegetables – Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Vary your veggies
  • Grains – Make half your grains whole grains
  • Protein - Vary your protein routine
  • Dairy - Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt

MyPlate suggests the following for developing a healthy eating style:

  • Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition.
  • Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
  • Start with small changes to build healthier eating styles.
  • Support healthy eating for everyone.

For more information, resources, and healthy eating tips, visit www.choosemyplate.gov

Activities:

Sources:

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2018). Use of Dietary Guidelines, MyPlate, and Food Labels to Make Healthy Choices. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/u...
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019). What is MyPlate? Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/WhatIsMyPlate
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. (2017). Importance of Good Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/importance-of-good-nutrition/ind...
  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Definitions of Health Terms: Nutrition. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/definitions/nutritiondefinitions.html