Learn how to follow the USDA MyPlate guidelines for basic nutrition, consider consistent variety in daily whole foods selection, and plan a healthy ratio of food portions for each meal.

How to Follow the USDA MyPlate Dietary Guidelines.

Forget the food pyramid. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guidelines are now called MyPlate. Here’s how to adhere to the USDA recommendations: You will need Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, Dairy, and smart choices.

  • Step 1. Picture a plate divided into 4 sections — fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Fruit and vegetables should fill half the plate, with veggies taking up a little more room than fruits; divide the other side between grains and protein, with grains getting a bit more space. Now envision a small cup next to your plate, marked “Dairy.” Not soda. Dairy. Go to to find daily MyPlate requirements of each food group according to age, gender, and level of physical activity.
  • Step 2. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables so your body gets a range of nutrients. Eating produce of different colors is an easy way to do so.
  • Step 3. Get your protein from omega-3 rich seafood; lean meats and poultry; eggs; nuts; seeds; and beans. Avoid processed meats like bacon and hot dogs. String beans are vegetables, not protein.
  • Step 4. When filling a quarter of your plate with grains, make sure that at least half of them are whole grains, meaning they contain the entire grain kernel. Examples include whole-wheat flour, bulgur, oatmeal, and brown rice.
  • Step 5. Choose dairy foods that retain their calcium content, such as milk, most cheeses, and yogurt, as opposed to those that don’t, such as butter and cream cheese. And try to stick to fat-free or low-fat dairy. If you drink soy milk, make sure it’s calcium-fortified.
  • Step 6. No matter what food group you’re eating, limit salt, solid fats, and added sugars — those that are put into foods and beverages when they’re processed. Bon appétit!

Nutrition Basics

Although much debated in medical, research, fitness, and wellness communities — nutrition is a key component to optimal health. Diet fads and false nutrition science leads many headlines in popular culture magazines. In effort to cut through much pseudoscience of advertised supplements and miracle foods, it is quite simple to follow a basic premise in foundational nutrition science. That premise is that natural foods in their whole unprocessed state are healthiest, most nutritious, and most beneficial to people who chose to live healthy. An old expression comes to mind; if food comes to you in a box, a can, or contains ingredients you cannot pronounce — dump it, it’s no good!

Learn how to follow the latest USDA MYPlate Dietary Guidelines by watching the video above. The concept is actually quite simple. To begin, forget the old standards previously established by the USDA formerly known as the Food Pyramid. MyPlate guidelines are easier to follow. Following the newest basic nutrition guidelines you are encouraged to select foods from 5 basic categories. These categories are loosely defined as fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. As you purchase nutritious foods in these categories you simply dive them by portion onto your plate. Families find this version of nutritious meal planning simple and easy to follow.

The suggestion offered by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion solution for marketing MyPlate is based on portion control. To keep estimates simple, think of your plate as 2 halves of a plate. Try the suggested portions of foods on your plate as follows; roughly half of your plate should be covered with 70% fibrous vegetables and 30% whole fruits. The other half of your plate should be covered with 60% whole grains and 40% lean proteins. Finish off your meal with a cup, literally 1 cup, of milk (or soy substitute) dairy. Avoid simple sugars, sodas, and fruit juices. Avoid butter, lard, and other solid fats. Proteins should include seeds, nuts, eggs, lean meats and poultry, seafood, and wild game sources. Avoid protein sources high in preservatives, like canned meats, hotdogs, and lunchmeat. Natural, fresh, sources always outweigh processed meats.

Please follow the next page prompts to learn more about basic nutrition, specifically protein, fat, and carbohydrate macronutrients, glycemic index of carbohydrates, and superfoods.

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nutrition was last modified: September 24th, 2017 by Derek Curtice