“Get Your Plate In Shape” is the 2012 theme for National Nutrition Month. The theme is encouraging consumers to eat the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy foods. The idea for this theme resulted from the USDA launching “My Plate” to replace “MyPyramid” in June 2011. “My Plate” is an easy-to-understand visual guide to help consumers follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. “My Plate” divides the plate into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins, with a glass representing dairy products. To help you “Get Your Plate in Shape” here are some simple tips.
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables by choosing different colors throughout the day.Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables all count. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables. Buy canned fruits in water or 100% juice rather than heavy syrup. Filling half your plate with dark leafy salad greens and a variety of vegetables and fruits will help control portions of the grains and protein.
Make at least half of your grains whole.
Select 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, brown rice, and popcorn.Experiment with other whole grains such as quinoa, barley, and steel cut oats.Read the ingredient list on food labels to select items that say “whole” rather than enriched or refined.
Select more healthful protein sources.
Eat a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean beef, pork, poultry, eggs, nuts, beans, and soy foods.Try to choose seafood twice a week as the protein on your plate.Keep all meat portions small (3-4oz) and lean.
Switch to fat-free or 1% milk.
Gradually switching to lower fat milk cuts the calories and saturated fat but still provides the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients.
Cut back on sodium and empty calories from added sugars and solid fats.
Choose to drink water instead of sugar-laden beverages. Eat fruit for dessert more often than the sugary, higher fat desserts.Compare sodium on the food label and choose foods with lower numbers. A food that contains 140mg sodium or less is considered “low sodium.” Add spices and herbs to season food rather than salt. Try to use liquid oils more often than solid fat when preparing foods and recipes.
Enjoy your food but eat less.
Try using smaller plates, bowls, serving spoons, and utensils. Studies show this can help you eat 20% less.Explore www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to get your personal calorie goal and keep this in mind when deciding what to eat. You can also try the SuperTracker at this website which helps you keep track of what you are eating each day.
Be physically active every day.
Choose activities you like and start with at least 10 minutes at a time. Aim to get 2 hours and 30 minutes or more of activity each week.
Be adventuresome and try new recipes and foods often.
This chicken stir-fry is a simple way to “Get Your Plate in Shape”. If you are feeding a larger family, you can easily double the recipe.
2 Tbsp canola oil
1-2 boneless, skinless fresh or frozen chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
Pepper to taste
½ tsp. ground ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz package frozen stir-fry vegetables or more if desired (about 4 cups)
¼ cup lite soy sauce
½ Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in pan and sprinkle with ginger and pepper. Saute chicken until cooked through and no longer pink inside. Add garlic and vegetables. (Can add a little water, oil, or broth if need more liquid). Cook until vegetables are heated through, then pour soy sauce over mixture. Add the sesame oil (a little goes a long way and adds such a nice flavor) and sprinkle with sugar. Mix and heat through. Serve with brown rice. Serves 3.
Nutrition per serving (not including rice): 265 calories, 13g fat, 1g saturated fat, 865mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 25g protein.