The Food Guide Pyramid nutrition model has changed and the United States Dairy Association (USDA) now uses MyPlate to teach about healthy eating. Key teaching concepts include:
Enjoy your food, but eat less
Avoid oversized portions
|Foods to Increase||
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Make at least half your grains whole grains
Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
|Foods to Reduce||
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower numbers
Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Foods in the grains category are mostly carbohydrates which supply energy to body cells and supply approximately 90% of the energy our body needs. The carbohydrates that are not used for energy are stored on your body as fat.
Daily Serving Size
For a 2,000 calorie diet, 6 ounce equivalents are suggested for grains per day, meaning that you should consume 6 servings that are each equivalent to one ounce. A one ounce equivalent of grains should approximately be the size of a 6 ounce can of tuna.
Make half of your grains whole grains
Whole grains contain the entire germ kernel whereas refined grains have had the bran and germ removed which makes them finer and increases shelf life but also removes crucial nutrients such as fiber, iron and B vitamins. Some refined grains have been enriched meaning that some vitamins and iron have been added back after processing. Not all of the original nutrients are added back into enriched grains which is why whole grains are best.
A diet high in vegetables can lead to lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and probably some cancers. Vegetables can lower the risk of eye and digestive problems and have a mellowing effect on blood sugar that can help with appetite management. Try to eat vegetables from several sub-categories each day:
- Dark green vegetables
- Orange vegetables
- Dry beans and peas
- Starchy vegetables
- Other vegetables
It is suggested to eat vegetables from each of the 5 sub-categories each day. Remember that half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. 64.5% of UC students consume 1-2 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can increase heart health, gastrointestinal health and vision. Fruits are important sources of nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin C. Fruits such as berries, grapes and pineapples are great sources of antioxidants which help your body rid itself of toxins. The daily suggested serving size of fruits is 2 cups and remember that half your plate should be half fruits and vegetables.
All milk products and foods made from milk are part of this group. The daily suggested serving size is 3 cups per day. Calcium is crucial to reducing the risk of osteoporosis and consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing regular, weight-bearing exercise will build maximum bone density and strength. Due to the large amounts of saturated fats in milk products, it is best to choose dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat and keep in mind that it is possible to get your daily calcium intake of 1000mg from other sources such as dark green leafy vegetables and legumes in addition to dairy products.
Physical activity is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days per week is suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 55.9% of UC students do moderate-intensity cardio or aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes 1-4 days per week.