Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

March 2012 Wellness Tip

Choosing Your Plate

The MyPlate campaign from the US Department of Agriculture is designed to make healthy eating simple.  The plate gives an easy to remember picture of the kinds of foods that are needed in a healthy diet and approximate portion sizes of each food group. 
The website,, contains a lot of useful information to help make better choices when it comes to eating healthy. There are recommendations for the kinds of foods to include in a healthy diet, ways to incorporate those healthy foods, and how to determine adequate portion sizes. Because each individual’s needs are different, the site does not provide exact amounts. 
Here are some helpful tips when using MyPlate:
1. When using the Plate to help you with your food choices, always use a nine-inch plate. Using a nine-inch plate can help you keep your portion sizes more accurate.
2. Remember the three P’s – Pick, Prep, Portion. Pick healthy choices. Prepare foods in the healthiest way.  Make sure you know the proper portion size for your body’s needs. Avoid “super-sizing” anything.
3. Make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables and fruit...with a larger emphasis on vegetables. Include fruits and vegetables of different colors. Eat vegetables raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. Avoid frying. Eat fruits and vegetables the way nature made them. Eat an apple instead of applesauce or apple juice. Limit your starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn.
4. Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains are less processed and include the bran “coating” and the nutrient-rich “germ.” Whole grains contain more fiber, which makes you feel more satisfied (“feeling fuller longer”). Choose brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, muesli, etc.
5. Switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy. Limit milk and dairy products to one to two servings per day. High-fat products made from milk (cream cheese or butter) do not count as a dairy serving.
6. Choose lean proteins. Pick the healthiest sources of protein, such as fish, chicken and beans. Nuts can be used in moderation. Cut back on red meat and use lean cuts of beef, pork or other meats. Avoid bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs and other processed meats. Prepare your proteins baked, broiled, roasted or grilled. Combining a lean protein with a high-fiber food will help you feel full and satisfied. 
7. Drink low-calorie or NO calories beverages. Ounce for ounce, juices contain as much sugar and calories as soda. Limit your consumption of these. Avoid sugary drinks. Replace them with water.
8. Use healthy oils, such as olive oil or canola oil, in moderation. Limit animal fats and avoid trans fats.
9. Use a food tracker or diet diary if you are trying to lose weight.
10. Increase physical activity. Although the plate does not show physical activity, it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It is still recommended that adults need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
***From Highmark BlueShield's "Healthy Highlights" March 2012 Newsletter
Cindi Dinger, on behalf of the Wellness Committee