How to make MyPlate your plate

How to incorporate MyPlate food recommendations into your families meal plan.

You might ask yourself, how do my cultural foods fit into the USDA’s MyPlate? MyPlate’s intent is to serve as a general nutrition guide (www.choosemyplate.gov) for all individuals. As a nation of growing immigrants and indigenous people, there are so many different cultures, especially cultural foods. Your cultural foods may not be reflected in the general community; however, the key to making MyPlate fit for you is to draw the connections between your cultural foods and the designated five food groups on MyPlate, supported by Michigan State University Extension. Reflect on a typical meal you eat in any given day; does it contain grains, protein, dairy, vegetables and fruits and do you have the proper serving amounts? Connecting these dots will help make MyPlate less vague and more personal as a nutrition guide for you.

As a general guide MyPlate can help balance your calories, increase foods that may be lacking in your diet and reduce foods that may be in excess in your diet. This guide also encourages limiting foods high in sodium, added sugars and refined grains with the promotion of eating more nutrient-dense foods. With some creativity you can create cultural food lists for the five different food groups found on MyPlate. This can be a fun and interactive activity with your children. Have your children draw cultural foods into a blank MyPlate. With this activity children can begin to learn how to use MyPlate as well as promote their awareness and consumption of cultural foods.

The more you use MyPlate the more familiar you will become with its potential. With the use of MyPlate as a general guide, you’ll begin to incorporate your culture into MyPlate and you may start to notice that MyPlate will begin to look more and more like your plate.

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