By Caroline Steele, MS, RD, CSP, IBCLC, director clinical nutrition and lactation services at CHOC
In honor of National Nutrition Month, join CHOC in encouraging everyone to adopt eating habits focusing on reducing excess calories from fat and sugar, reducing intake of processed foods, and making information food choices to help fight disease and promote good health.
With so much nutrition information available and so many food choices, deciding what to put on your dinner plate can feel daunting and time consuming. The United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate makes it easy. No matter how busy you are, one quick glance at your plate can show you if you are getting the variety you need to stay healthy.
Compare the foods on your plate with the MyPlate icon below. How does it compare? Are there food groups that you should be eating more of? Less of? All foods fit into a healthy diet — it’s just a matter of balance.
Some hints for a healthier table:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole grains whenever possible.
- Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk.
- Choose lean sources of protein such as lean meats, chicken, fish and beans.
Foods to Reduce
- Reduce your intake of processed foods. When choosing canned or frozen foods, choose those with lower amounts of sodium.
- Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks—drink water instead!
Make it fun and use MyPlate as a family! Have kids draw the MyPlate icon then compare it to their own plates. Getting children involved in mealtimes and food choices can help them be healthier and make better nutrition decisions as they get older.
So, dig in! Good nutrition and healthy eating are as close as your plate.
For more information, go to MyPlate.gov for interactive tools and sample meals.
Or, go to eatright.org, the website of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, for a variety of topics including nutrition for life and food safety.
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At CHOC, we specialize in providing a full continuum of pediatric nutrition services, including inpatient and outpatient services, depending on our patients’ needs.