Did you know that the Food Guide Pyramid is now a thing of the past? If you didn’t, you are not alone! There are a lot of people who didn’t realize that the new way of teaching nutrition in the United States is the MyPlate icon. The food guide pyramid changed a lot of times over the years, and this was the most recent one:
There are a lot of reasons that the USDA decided to move away from the pyramid, but one of them is that a lot of people said it was confusing. Of course it was! If you look at the pyramid and see all of that food, how in the world are you supposed to decide how much to give your kids of what food? As a parent, trying to figure out what to feed your kids is hard enough. We need tools to help make this job easier. Enter MyPlate!
The idea of a balanced healthy plate is brilliant. It is simple, easy to understand and easy to visualize. We all use plates and so it is something that we can definitely relate to when we eat. This is the new icon and what the MyPlate method looks like. We love this method because it is SO simple. You don’t have to calculate anything when trying to get a meal on the table for your kids.
What is the MyPlate Method??
1. Start with Fruits and Veggies.
At Super Healthy Kids, we believe that making HALF your plate fruits and veggies is so important to good health. Not only do we believe this, but years of research has shown that eating enough fruits and vegetables is the number one thing you can do for your kids (and your!) health!! When you are planning your meal, or dishing food on your plate, if you always make sure half of it is fruits and veggies then you will begin to see and feel the difference of those increase nutrients in your overall health. Some benefits we have found include:
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Improved immunity
- Re-train taste preferences for overly sweet or salty foods.
- More energy throughout the day
2. Choose Whole Grains.
Whole grains are higher in fiber, antioxidants, and other important nutrients. There are so many good choices when it comes to whole grains. If you and your kids aren’t used to eating them, start with a few small changes and gradually remove refined white products from your diet. Some whole grains that we love in our diet include:
- Brown Rice
- Whole Wheat
3. Vary Your Proteins.
A lot of times when you ask people which foods are high in protein, they immediately think of meat. We have been eating a much more ‘meatless’ diet the last year and still feel totally satisfied with our food. Some great kid-friendly protein choices are:
- Legumes: Black Beans, Kidney Beans, White Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Hummus using all varieties of beans
- Nut Butters
- Seafood – especially white fish and salmon. These are flaky and easy for kids to chew.
That is it! This is the MyPlate Method. Just use your MyPlate to feed your kids at meals, and do what the plate tells you. No complicated food combining, or trying to figure out servings and amounts. If you use the MyPlate method, you just let the plate do all of the work for you, and you just fill in the sections with foods your family enjoys!
This is a really great chart breaking down the food categories on the plate and giving options.
So basically if you are wanting to change your diet, or just teach your kids a very balanced way of eating, we think that MyPlate is a great way to start! I serve most of my kids food on this plate and they are definitely learning about what a balanced plate should look like. We try new fruits and vegetables a lot and they may not eat them all of the time, but it is important to offer variety and expose your kids to new taste, flavors, and textures. The rule at our house is that you taste everything – even if it is the tiniest taste. If you are wanting to start using the MyPlate method, but need ideas of what to serve, we have lots for you! Check it out here.