Now that spring is officially here, let's look at what the season has to offer in terms of everyone's favorite food graphic. Here are a few of our top MyPlate tips for spring...
Seek Out Variety
It's time to break out of a winter eating rut and try new spring foods.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season right now include...
- Baby lettuces
- Fava beans
- Fresh peas
- Morel mushrooms
These foods are all welcome additions to MyPlate. Eating seasonally ensures that you'll be able to incorporate more variety into your eating pattern. Perhaps try one new food per week!
Note that this advice doesn't only have to be about fruits and vegetables -- varied protein sources are also important, and you never know when you might stumble upon a new whole grain favorite or delicious low-fat dairy food. Keep variety in mind as you head to the store or market this spring.
Focus on a Food to Reduce
Now that there's a break in the holidays, there are fewer times when you might feel required to indulge in calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods. Take advantage of this lull and start building a healthier pattern that will serve you well by the time summer's big holidays roll around.
MyPlate features 3 food elements to reduce: saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. Here's what it has to say about them...
"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."
This spring, pick one of those elements and focus on ways to reduce your consumption of it.
Food labels can be especially helpful here! Use them to determine how much saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium is in a serving of the foods you're buying.
Follow the Image
This spring, redouble your efforts to make your plate look like MyPlate at each meal. That means...
- Half the plate is full of fruits and vegetables
- A quarter of the plate features a lean protein food (or one that's rich in "good" fats, like fish)
- Whole grains take up the last quarter of the plate
- There's some low-fat dairy on the side
As you're balancing your plate, it might be fun to feature the spring foods addressed in the tips above. And for more information about making your plate look like MyPlate, be sure to check out MyPlate's homepage.
Finally, for a closer look at MyPlate and its many valuable health lessons, don't miss the amazing MyPlate for Educators course. Here's just a small sample of what it addresses...
- What is on MyPlate: Food Groups and Serving Sizes
- MyPlate's Advice
- MyPlate Meal Makeovers
- MyPlate's Health Impact
- Navigating MyPlate's Website
- The History of MyPlate and the USDA's Food Graphics
- MyPlate's Connection to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
And here are a few of my favorite spring resources...