Key Messages from MyPlate

It’s time for another sneak peek, this time into the Food and Health Online Classes!

Today’s sneak peek comes from the increasingly popular MyPlate for Educators Course. After you’ve finished this 2-hour CPE class, you will be able to…

  1. Discuss the history of MyPlate and its connection to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  2. Understand the foods and food groups that make up MyPlate, along with the food elements that should be reduced/consumed in moderation.
  3. Articulate MyPlate’s advice about portions and proportions.
  4. Know the serving sizes for each food group as recommended for different ages, sexes, and activity levels.
  5. Explore and provide makeovers to dishes in order to bring them into alignment with MyPlate.
  6. Discuss shifts in eating patterns that will bring about a healthier eating style.
  7. Understand the health impact associated with a variety of foods in each food group.
  8. Successfully navigate the MyPlate website and know where to look for further resources.

In this little preview, you’ll get a glimpse of a few key messages from MyPlate.

Are you ready? Here we go!

One of the themes that you will see over and over in MyPlate’s educational materials is the importance of variety. Yes, there are 5 main food groups, but there are lots of different foods in each one. Just because the proportions don’t change doesn’t mean that the content shouldn’t. Be sure to keep the choices nutrient dense and in reasonable portions and you’ll be building a healthy plate.

Another key to MyPlate is bringing all the pieces together to form a healthy eating style. This means choosing proper portions of nutritious foods in enough variety to meet your nutrient needs. A healthy eating style is also low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

Why?

Well, according to the USDA, “Eating fewer calories from foods high in saturated fat and added sugars can help you manage your calories and prevent overweight and obesity. Most of us eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugar. Eating foods with less sodium can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.” Plus, these empty calories and sodium have been linked to an increased risk of chronic disease.

Yet another key message from MyPlate is the importance of making small shifts in order to create a healthier eating style. This is very closely in line with the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as are most of MyPlate’s messages.

You don’t have to upend all your eating habits in order to start building a healthy eating pattern. Instead, make small changes that you know you can sustain over time and build from there.

This presentation goes on for a total of 45 slides, but I think we need to stop here. I hope you liked the sneak peek! For more great information about MyPlate, check out the MyPlate for Educators Course.

And here are some other MyPlate resources that I thought you might enjoy!

Portion Control Activity Ideas

Portion control is often key to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

We’ve all heard about the many benefits of a healthful eating pattern that incorporates proper portion control.

Making portion control something that is accessible and appealing to your clients, on the other hand, can be more of a challenge.

That’s why my team and I created these beautiful portion control plates!

Portion Control Plate

We designed these plates to help consumers stay on track when it comes to maintaining a healthful diet, practicing portion control, getting regular exercise, and staying hydrated.

By using this plate to dish up their meals, people can save up to 60% of their daily calories per meal (compared to just loading a plate by eye like most people do). This plate keeps foods in the proper proportions and portion sizes, as recommended by MyPlate.

The inside of the plate guides people to balancing their plates with:

  • 3 ounces of lean protein
  • 1/2 cup of cooked grains
  • 1 cup of vegetables
  • 1 cup of fruits

Meanwhile, the rim of the plate is full of reminders to sip the right kind of beverage and get moving from time to time!

The beautiful color pattern of the plates makes them attractive for home, picnics, the office, and parties. Plus, they work beautifully in wellness fairs, cooking demos, classrooms, and one-on-one consultations.

Load up that plate

To celebrate the release of these wonderful nutrition education materials, I want to share two activities that you can do with these plates today!

Activity #1: Fill the Portion Plate

What you’ll need:

  • Enough portion control plates for everyone
  • Magazines
  • Scissors

What you’ll do:

  1. Assemble your group, pass out the plates, and make sure everyone has access to scissors and magazines. Explain that they are going to cut out pictures of food and then sort them into the appropriate areas of the portion control plate.
  2. Offer your participants some time to cut out their selections, then explain the next part of the activity.
  3. Pick a food group and call it out. The participants must find a food that fits into that group (from their collection of magazine images) and place it on the correct section of the plate, holding up both the picture and the plate so that you can see it. Award points for speed and accuracy, correcting any misconceptions that may crop up.
  4. After the game is over, you discuss the results and let the class go or add a twist. For the latter, see who can find the healthiest food to fit in a food group the fastest. Discuss. What makes each food a good fit for its food group? What nutrients does it contain? How much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in the food?

Portion Control Planning:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 portion control plate per person
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils

What you’ll do:

  1. Pass out the plates to each participant. Give everyone pens and pieces of paper too.
  2. Have everyone examine the food groups on the plate. What are the portion sizes like? How do the proportions work? Discuss what they notice.
  3. Have people list the days of the week across the tops of their papers. Using the plates, have them plan meals that would fill the plates in the proper portions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on each day of the week.
  4. Once everyone has their ideas mapped out, ask for volunteers to share their plans. What inspired them? Why? Which ideas are the best for a healthful eating pattern? What makes them healthful?
  5. Once your discussion is finished, let your participants keep their plates, and, if you’ll see them again, check in on their progress. Do they like using these new plates? Why or why not?

I hope you liked this resource spotlight!

Here are some other great portion control materials — which will make your life easier?

Make a Healthy Plate!

MyPlate Plate for KidsMyPlate Plate

I’ve just launched a few new MyPlate plates, and I couldn’t wait another moment for you to see them!

These MyPlate plates have been favorites of health and nutrition educators since I first came up with the idea a few years ago. After all, who wouldn’t want an actual plate to use while learning and teaching the key lessons of MyPlate?

These new designs for portion control and kids highlight the importance of balancing eating patterns with physical activity, and there are great options for both adults and kids. In addition to being wonderful teaching tools, these plates are also perfect for prizes, cooking demonstrations, displays, presentations, and much more!

As a treat today, I’d like to share a MyPlate activity that you could do with any of these plates or even a paper plate. Are you ready?

MyPlate Activity: Fill the Plate

What you’ll need:

  • Physical MyPlate Plates
  • Magazines
  • Scissors

What you’ll do:

Assemble your group, pass out the plates, and make sure everyone has access to the scissors and magazines. Explain that they are going to cut out pictures of food and then sort them into the appropriate areas of MyPlate.

Offer your participants some time to cut out their selections, then explain the next part of the activity.

Pick a food group and call it out. The participants must find a food that fits into that group (from their collection of magazine images) and place it on the correct section of the plate, holding up both the picture and the plate so that you can see it. Award points for speed and accuracy, correcting any misconceptions that may crop up.

After the game is over, you discuss the results and let the class go or add a twist. For the latter, see who can find the healthiest food to fit in a food group the fastest. Discuss. What makes each food a good fit for its food group? What nutrients does it contain? How much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in the food?

I hope you liked this glimpse of the MyPlate activity that can go with the new MyPlate plates. Don’t miss some of the other wonderful MyPlate resources that are available now in the Nutrition Education Store

Quiz: Make a Healthy Plate

Quizzes are great vehicles for teaching key health lessons and making sure they stick. Today, as a special treat, I’d like to share one of the quizzes from the PowerPoint show Make a Healthy Plate. This show is one of the chapters in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program, which is a comprehensive employee weight loss program.

Are you ready for the sneak peek?

Which Plate?

All right, here’s the quiz. Take a look at the slide above. Which plate has the most calories? Is it Plate A, with a chicken fried steak and fries, or is it Plate B, the one filled with a chicken and vegetable stir fry alongside some brown rice?

Answer Slide

You may not be surprised to see that it’s Plate A that has the most calories, but look at how many more calories it has than Plate B. Plate A has 1,121 calories, while Plate B has only 356 calories. That’s a 765 calorie difference!

A closer look at Plate A

Let’s take a closer look at each plate. You get the calorie total in Plate A by combining an 8-ounce fried steak — which has 521 calories — with 6 ounces worth of French fries. That serving has 600 calories, which brings the total up to 1,121 calories. The fat content is nothing to sneeze at either. When the 21 grams of fat in the steak join the 33 fat grams in the fries, they add up to 54 total grams of fat on that plate alone!

Plate B

Now let’s do the same math for Plate B. A single cup of carrots and a cup of broccoli each have 54 calories. The chicken breast has another 140 calories, and the brown rice has 108 calories. When you add all that up, you get 356 calories for the plate. And the fat grams are much smaller as well. Each cup of vegetables has less than 1 gram of fat, and the brown rice has none at all. The chicken breast has 3 grams of fat, which brings the fat total for the whole plate to roughly 4 grams of fat.

That’s where I’m going to end the slide preview for today. This excerpt comes from pretty early in the Healthy Plate PowerPoint. The show goes on to cover the basics of MyPlate, the components of each My Plate food group, strategies for eyeballing the correct portions, ways to calculate the total calories on your plate, and even methods for “shrinking your plate” at each meal. Fun pop quizzes pepper the presentation, which ends with a review of its most important points.

And that’s just 1 chapter of the 12 that are featured in the 12 More Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss program! I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was comprehensive. Check out the details for the 12 lessons in the link below…

Here’s a PDF copy of all the slides you saw today — feel free to use the quiz however you’d like!

Healthy Plate

And here are some other great resources from the Nutrition Education Store!