Getting the right nutrition for yourself can be mind boggling. It seems like there are constantly new studies out proving or disproving a previous study. Where do you start and how do you know you’re going in the right direction? Personally, I try to start by looking at the facts that have been unwavering over the years. For example, I have never heard any arguments over balancing your diet and portion control. Sounds simple enough, but how do you know you’re getting the right amount of nutrients for you specifically? It’s hard to know these things if you don’t have at least a BA in nutrition. Luckily there is a website that makes it easy for you and gives you all the right information. The website is called choosemyplate.gov. This is a site I trust because it was introduced to me by my nutrition professor in college and it was a resource we were required to use for multiple projects in the class. I highly encourage you to look at each of the resources Choose My Plate has to offer. It’s a great way to teach yourself how to eat right. First I am going to start with the, My Plate portion of the site.
My Plate breaks down each food group and tells you how much of each food group you need. First start by clicking the, My Plate tab.
If you’d like to learn more about what, Choose My Plate is you can click on the What Is My Plate tab underneath.
Each Food group tab to the right of that will not only talk about each food group but will also give you a reference chart to show you how much of that food group you should be eating daily.
I find this to be a really useful tool. This is what I reference when I’m creating new meals and recipes for myself. I try to eat between 3-5 small meals everyday because that’s what works best for my body. I usually take the suggested amount in the chart and divide that by how many meals I plan on eating that day. Sometimes I don’t eat as many meals as I plan to; so most of the time I improvise. My suggestion to you would be to not stress yourself out and do the best you can.
Choose My plate has tools for all ages and walks of life. By clicking on the Audience tab you can see how Choose My Plate provides resources for ALL audiences! That’s one of the beautiful things, it’s designed for everyone.
Head on over to the Healthy Eating Style section to find out the importance of why everything you eat matters, how to choose foods and beverages and starting with small changes.
Everything You Eat and Drink Matters, educates on why variety, portion sizes, nutrient dense foods and Other ingredients are so important.
Variety talks about how different food and food groups are important for getting different types of nutrients. Amount covers the importance of portion size and calories. The Nutrition portion ties in with amount by talking about nutrient dense foods. Eating nutrient dense foods are important. A Starbucks old fashioned glazed doughnut has 420 calories. The mini omelet breakfast sandwich I posted in week one is only 355 calories with a banana. So you get more food and stay full longer for 65 calories less because the food in the breakfast sandwich are more nutrient dense but have less calories. So you tell me, which would you rather have? Doughnut? Yeah, me too but my clothes don’t like it so I choose the other option. The final topic in this portion is Other Ingredients which helps you build your knowledge of what sodium and added sugar is and the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. The other two topics under the Healthy Eating Style tab are Choosing Foods And Beverages and Start With Small Changes. Choosing Foods And Beverages basically just goes into further detail than Other Ingredients did. Start With Small Changes is VERY important because you will need to remind yourself of the things in this portion. You need to take things one step at a time. It not only gives your body time to adjust but it will make things much easier on you as well. Start with small steps like removing refined sugar for a few weeks. You will notice you won’t be struggling to stick to your diet as much.
Choose My Plate also talks about physical activity.
The subjects in this category are pretty self explanatory. It talks about what it is, why it’s important, how much you need, burning calories and tips for increasing activity.
Choose My Plate is also interactive!
Use the Supertracker for tracking your calories, use the BMI calculator or take one of their online quizzes to test your new knowledge of nutrients and food groups. It also has a daily checklist and tips for meal planning that includes a printable categorized shopping list! Choose My Plate has resources for just about everything when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle but don’t just take my word for it. Head on over to www.choosemyplate.gov and get started learning how to improve your overall health!