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Healthy Eating 101: The My Plate Model

By The Visionary
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The concept of nutrition is a critical part of general well-being.

If you are aiming to reach your goals as fast and as efficient as you can by performing at your best, you need to be able to present your best foot forward. You need to be physically and mentally fit to take on the world. It is for this reason that you should take a closer inspection of your physical needs aside from focusing your energy on mental well-being (although that’s also a very good thing to watch out for!).

Many people believe that the strength of the body is directly relative to the power of the mind. As such, it is important to keep your body as healthy as possible so that you can always have access to your fullest potential.

With that being said, many people seem to forget all about nutrition. So much, that they can no longer recall details of the food pyramid as they have learned when they were younger. For some that could afford it, they hire nutritionists as they try to take the path of healthy living and exercise. Although it is admirable, you may not have the capability to hire people to inform you about your nutritional needs.

This article is focused on informing you about the basics of nutrition and the latest in the nutrition guide from the US, the one that replaced the food pyramid – the MyPlate diagram. It may seem very elementary for you, but sometimes, all we need is a little bit of push to recall what may have forgotten. Take all opportunities to learn as it is essential to your journey to success.

What is the MyPlate diagram?

Essentially, this is the nutrition guide that was released by the United States Department of Agriculture that replaced the MyPyramid guide from way back in 2013, effectively ending the food pyramid diagrams that many of you may have grown up with. Currently, this model is used on food packaging throughout the country and the one being taught in educational facilities.

It is part of a series of nutritional guides created by the USDA, tracing back its conceptualization and creation in 1984 by Dr Wilbur Olin Atwater as a farmers’ bulletin. Throughout the years (and the ones before them), variations of these guidelines came and went such as the Basic 7 (1934-1992), the Basic Four (1956-1992), the Food Guide Pyramid (1992-2005), and MyPyramid (2005-2013).

Aside from the United States, other countries have their variations of these nutrition guides such as the United Kingdom’s Eatwell Plate and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

It functions as a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. As creatures of habit, people should be able to construct a basic structure to base their routines and effectively create a system that they can easily adhere to. The MyPlate aims to focus on variety, amount, and nutrition; choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars; start with small changes to build healthier eating styles; and support healthy eating for everyone.

As our healthy eating situations are greatly affected by our current status in life, the MyPlate model allows for people to make personal decisions that they can make over time.

Building a Healthy Eating Style

All Food and Beverage Choices Matter

As mentioned in the previous section, you need to focus on variety, amount, and nutrition in everything that you consume. You should take a focus and healthy food and beverage choices from all the five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy to get the essential nutrients that you need.

Like most nutrition articles you may found all over, you need to watch your calorie intake and base them off on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physicality that you do every day.

Choose an Eating Style Low on Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars

Like many things in life, moderation is key. We are not saying to not eat foods with saturated fats and the likes but it is preferred to reduce your intake of such meals. It is for this reason that nutritional facts are put in food packaging so that you can take them into account and consider them.

Managing your intake of calories from foods high in saturated fats and added sugars can help you prevent overweight and obesity. Avoiding foods high in sodium also reduces the risk of high blood pressure!

Baby Steps and Small Changes

Like many things in life, every step towards progress should be celebrated so that you can motivate yourself to make further changes. You need to condition your mind to associate habit changes with something positive. It is for this reason that the MyPlate model encourages people to treat each eating habit change as a “personal win” so that they can encourage people to continue going on the path of eating healthier.

It always starts small such as making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, for example. Perhaps, you can make half your grains as whole grains or move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yoghurt. Naturally, you can also vary your protein routine. There are many ways to do this routine change. You just have to commit.

Now, that’s healthy thinking and you’ll be ready to take on the world in no time!