Setting a place for healthy eating

Eight great tips for a healthy meal!

You’ve probably heard of the “Food Guide Pyramid” – that triangle diagram used for teaching the food groups. The Food Guide Pyramid was introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992 as a model for healthful eating. In June 2011, the USDA introduced a new symbol – “MyPlate” – to help us make better food choices. MyPlate is part of a communications initiative based on the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“MyPlate is designed to remind us to eat healthfully by illustrating the five food groups using a familiar mealtime visual – a place setting,” said Megan Sexton, registered dietitian at Norton Hospital. “The information about what and how much to eat has not changed from the pyramid. Both symbols are based on the same food groups and eating recommendations.”

The pyramid had six stripes that represented the five food groups plus oils. The plate features four sections (vegetables, fruits, grains and protein) plus a side of dairy. The plate illustration shows that fruits and vegetables should take up half the plate, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section.

“The plate also is divided so that the grain section is bigger than the protein section,” Sexton said. “More grains than proteins should be consumed, and at least half your grains should be whole grains. Other great highlights of MyPlate are to choose low sodium, reduced sodium and sodium-free foods and to cut calories by drinking more water instead of sugary drinks.”

The plate visual also aims to discourage super-size portions, which can cause weight gain. The plate can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That doesn’t mean you have to eat vegetables with breakfast. Just try to eat a variety of food groups at each meal. If breakfast doesn’t include a veggie, have a vegetable at snack time. Learn more about MyPlate at

8 tips for a healthy meal

  • Fill half your plate with veggies and fruits
  • Add lean protein, like chicken, pork, beans or tofu
  • Include whole grains, which provide more fiber than refined grain
  • Don’t forget the dairy – a glass of milk or some low-fat cheese
  • Avoid extra fat, like gravy and sauces
  • Eat slowly and savor your food
  • Use a smaller plate for portion control
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit, like a parfait with yogurt or a baked apple with cinnamon

Kohl’s Cares High Five Prevention Program

A new initiative is underway, led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy at Norton Children’s Hospital. Kohl’s Cares High Five Prevention Program, or Kohl’s High Five for short, embraces today’s health care focus on prevention. To stay healthy and fit, children and adults should follow the 5-2-1-0 guidelines everyday: 5 fruits or vegetables, 2 hours or less of television time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugar-sweetened beverages.

Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables all count.

Tips for getting fruits and vegetables into your family’s daily diet:

  • Try the three-bite rule. It can take seven to 10 tries before you like a new food. Offer new fruits and veggies in different ways to encourage your kids to try at least three bites each time.
  • Many fruits and veggies taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing made with yogurt or get protein with peanut butter.
  • Make a fruit smoothie with low-fat yogurt.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to food you already make, such as pasta, soups, casseroles, pizza and rice.
  • Add fruits to your cereal, pancakes or other breakfast foods
  • Wash and chop veggies and fruit so they are ready to grab and eat
  • Most people prefer crunchy foods over mushy ones; enjoy vegetables fresh or lightly steamed


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