A toast is especially in order because of a concept that has never before appeared in American dietary guidance. The very first tip on the revamped USDA MyPlate website reads: Enjoy your food, but eat less. The inclusion of enjoy in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate serves as an effective recognition of how important the taste of food is in helping consumers make healthier choices. This is a positive and realistic way to inspire Americans to get the most nutrition for their calories by focusing on enjoying food instead of avoiding food.
The new guidelines also urge Americans to be more adventurous in choosing healthful, nutrient-dense foods. Recognizing that new worlds of taste and texture exist when families explore new foods, MyPlate tips suggest dozens of tasty ways to expand food horizons to enjoy a variety of tastes from each group, every day. A few examples include:
- Get creative with your salad: Toss in shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments, or sweet peas for a flavorful, fun salad.
- Ingredient switches: When recipes such as dips call for sour cream, substitute plain yogurt. Use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream, and try low-fat ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.
- Be a good food role model: Try new foods yourself. Describe its taste, texture, and smell. Offer children one new food at a time. Serve something your child likes along with the new food. Offer new foods at the beginning of a meal, when your child is very hungry. Avoid lecturing or forcing your child to eat.
A new tool from National Dairy Council―Filling Your Plate The Dietary Guidelines Way―serves up the new advice in a practical meal plan. This simple plan provides a flexible and realistic way to get the most nutrition for your calories by focusing on nutrient-dense foods and beverages such as low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains―just like the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate. The plan also directly addresses the “gap nutrients” identified as nutrients of concern by the Guidelines: potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D. It provides delicious sources of these critical nutrients in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and milk and milk products.
In three balanced meals and two easy snacks, Filling Your Plate the Dietary Guidelines Way illustrates how easy and tasty healthy eating habits can be. Here are a few of the highlights:
BREAKFAST: Jump Start the Day Parfait
- This super-simple, eat-anywhere breakfast supports the DGA guidance to wake up to a nutrient-dense breakfast every day in order to help meet nutritional recommendations and help manage weight. This meal helps fill those nutrient gaps for potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D if the yogurt and/or cereal is vitamin D-fortified.
LUNCH: Hearty Roast Beef Sandwich
- This satisfying lunch could easily be brought from home and similar options are increasingly available from delis and restaurants. The glass (or carton) of fat-free milk delivers nine essential nutrients important for good health, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A and D, B12, riboflavin and niacin (niacin equivalents). Few foods provide this unique contribution of nutrients.
DINNER: Salmon with Fruit Salsa
- This colorful meal is an almost picture-perfect example of the MyPlate icon, with salmon for protein, rice for a grain and half the plate filled with green beans and a tropical fresh fruit salsa. The glass of low-fat or fat-free milk helps meets the DGA and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) recommendations for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods per day, a strong testament to the value of dairy in the diet.
SNACKS: Apple Dippers and Hummus/Veggie Plate
- Both smart snacks illustrate practical ways to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for both children and adults. The crunchy textures and flavorful, protein-rich dips are fun ways to satisfy between-meal hunger and give your taste buds a treat.