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My Plate

Make Your Plate Match MyPlate


            In June 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created MyPlate to provide the public with nutritional guidelines for healthy eating. The main message of MyPlate includes filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth with grains, one-fourth with protein, and a side of dairy. MyPlate illustrates the food groups that are essential to a well-balanced diet, as well as recommended daily amounts within each group.

March is National Nutrition Month so follow these principles to match your plate to MyPlate.

Focus on Fruits Health Benefits: Many fruits contain dietary fiber which may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Recommendations: 2 cups of fruit per day*In the dining halls, 1 piece of fresh fruit or 1 cup of 100% fruit juice each count as 1 cup.

Vary Your Veggies Health Benefits: Vegetables protect against certain types of cancer and are sources of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Recommendations: 2 ½ cups for women and 3 cups for men* In the dining halls, 2 cups of raw spinach from the salad bar or 1 cup of cooked carrots each count as 1 cup of vegetables

Get Your Calcium Rich Foods Health benefits: Dairy products contain calcium, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Choosing fat-free or 1% milk can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.
Recommendations: 3 cups of dairy per day* In the dining halls, 1 cup of milk, 1cup of yogurt, or 2 slices of cheese each count as one cup

Make at Least Half Your Grains Whole Health benefits: Whole grain products contain many B Vitamins that support a healthy nervous system and vital body functions. Recommendations: 6 ounce equivalents for women and 8 ounce equivalents for men* In the dining halls, 1slice of bread, 1 cup of cold cereal, or ½ cup of cooked pasta each count as 1 ounce equivalent

Go Lean with Protein Health benefits: Sources of lean protein such as seafood, poultry, beans, and soy contain healthy fats for your heart. They function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Recommendations: 5 ½ ounce equivalents for women and 6 ½ ounce equivalents for men* In the dining halls, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter  and 1egg count as 1ounce equivalent

*All recommendations are suitable for college students, or adults ages 19-30 years old

For more information on how to get yourself and your plate in shape, follow the  RU Healthy Dining Team on Facebook and Twitter @RUHDT

Author: Jessica McKinley                                   Reviewed By:  Peggy Policastro, MS, RD- Department of Nutritional Sciences References: United States Department of Agriculture. Food Groups Overview. Available at: Accessed on February 04, 2012. American Dietetic Association. Get Your Plate in Shape (National Nutrition Month 2012 Key Messages) Available at Accessed on February 9, 2012.


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