Growing up, you may have learned that there are daily goals to meet in five different nutritional categories. These categories, depicted in the form of a pyramid, show the ratios of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, proteins, and fats. This has now changed. After years of continually learning about nutrition, we have come to learn that each meal should be well-balanced. There is no longer a daily goal to meet, instead Nutritionists and Physicians recommend that you seek to have a balanced meal, at every meal.
To help you achieve this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has created a program called MyPlate. This program is designed to show you in the form of a circle how much of each nutritional category you should try to include in your meals. These new categories are Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Proteins, and Dairy products. This varies from the Food Pyramid because Fruits and Vegetables have been split into their own categories and Fats is no longer a category of its own, This change is centered around increasing balanced nutrition. This is important because your body needs different vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients to continue to live and to be healthy. Each of these nutrients comes from different food items and so each one is important.
MyPlate suggests that with each meal you should have whole fruits, varied vegetables, whole grains, differing protein sources, and low-fat/fat-free dairy products (this included lactose-free options). Beyond meeting each category, to ensure that you are getting the essential vitamins and minerals, try and include as many different colors as possible from your fruits and vegetables. For more questions about MyPlate or balanced eating consider exploring the MyPlate website or talking to your Physician or Dietitian for more information.