I recently heard a song on the country music radio station called “Automatic” by Miranda Lambert. It immediately took me back to my childhood and growing up on Ontario Street with all my friends. Time seemed to go so much slower back then. It was great! Nowadays it seems so rushed and everyone is go go go all the time, our family included.
Even though our lives seem faster paced today I still want to take time to feed my family healthy, nutritious food. AJ is now 16 months so he is basically eating everything that the rest of us are. Sometimes this makes it hard to make certain meals, but I know before long it won’t matter, so I improvise and make more “kid-friendly” meals for the time being.
Now don’t get me wrong, we aren’t making every single meal at home, we do have to eat on the go some, but when we are home I try to make sure that our plates look similar to the USDA’s daily recommendations called Choose MyPlate. It recommends that you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half should consist of meats, grains, and a side of dairy.
With March being National Nutrition Month, I thought I would share some of the great information that I have found from the Choose MyPlate website. Here are 10 tips to a great plate as stated on the Choose MyPlate website:
1. Balance calories
Find out how many calories YOU need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to find your calorie level. Being physically active also helps you balance calories.
2. Enjoy your food, but eat less
Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
3. Avoid oversized portions
Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass. Portion out foods before you eat. When eating out, choose a smaller size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.
4. Foods to eat more often
Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. These foods have the nutrients you need for health-including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. Make them the basis for meals and snacks.
5. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert.
6. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
7. Make half of your grains whole grains
To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product—such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice.
8. Foods to eat less often
Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. They include cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. Use these foods as occasional treats, not everyday foods.
9. Compare sodium in foods
Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
10. Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar, and calories, in American diets.