The new MyPlate icon created by the USDA is far easier to understand than the erstwhile food pyramid. At a glance we now know the chief constituents of a healthy diet and the proportions in which these should be consumed thereby making it easy for us to create individual food guides for easy meal planning.
The new and colorful MyPlate is divided into sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. There is no need to measure serving sizes and trying to remember whether a piece a chicken should be the size of a fist or a golf ball. Instead food is measured by way of percentages. If you observe the MyPlate icon closely, you notice that 50% of the plate is occupied by grain and vegetables and the balance 50% is occupied by proteins and fruit. Based on this, it is now easy to come up with a meal plan.
This of course does not mean that each meal is a representation of the MyPlate concept. Instead, think of the MyPlate concept as a representation of the entire day’s meals. Here are three typical MyPlate based meal plans that should give roughly 2,000 calories:
MyPlate Daily Menu – Meal Plan 1:
Breakfast: 1 cup non-fat milk with 2 cups of whole-grain cereal, one large banana and 1 cup of orange juice.
Lunch: 3 oz. of lean turkey luncheon meat made into a sandwich using whole-wheat bread with 1 tbsp. of low-fat mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. Treat yourself to a nice large apple or a bunch of grapes and round it off with a cup of low-fat non-sweetened yogurt.
In between meals you can have a few (5 or 6) walnuts or almonds or dried fruit or nuts.
Dinner: Try 3 oz. of lean hamburger meat, grilled and served on a whole-wheat bun accompanied with an ear of corn, a cup of roasted potatoes and a tossed salad with 2 tbsp. of low-fat salad dressing.
Snack: Half-cup serving of low-fat frozen yogurt. If you have a craving for something sweet, you may add half a teaspoonful of sugar.
MyPlate Daily Menu – Meal Plan 2:
Breakfast: 4-oz. whole-wheat bagel. If you like it a bit moist, lightly spread a tablespoonful of peanut butter. Add a cup of nonfat milk to your breakfast.
Lunch: 4 oz. of grilled chicken on a bed of fresh mixed greens. Make a dried fruit yogurt salad with three walnuts, 2 tablespoonfuls of raisins, a bit of low-fat salad dressing, a cup of grapes and a cup of low-fat yogurt.
Snack: Two rice cakes with one wedge of nonfat cheese.
Dinner: Pasta primavera: 10 precooked medium sized shrimp made with 2 cups of whole-wheat pasta, 1 cup of mixed vegetables and a quarter-cup of marinara sauce.
MyPlate Daily Menu – Meal Plan 3:
Breakfast: Whip up two eggs mixed with 1 oz. low-fat cheese, shallow fry into an omelet. Make yourself two slices of whole-wheat toast and eat with half-cup of mixed vegetables. Drink a cup of low fat milk.
Lunch: Cut a whole-wheat pita in the middle and stuff with one quarter-cup of hummus, alfalfa sprouts and tomatoes. Have a handful of raisins and peanuts and a cup of low-fat yogurt.
Snack: Try string cheese and carrot sticks.
Dinner: Try Chinese-America Veggie stir fry: 2 cups of mixed vegetables and a half-cup of tofu stir-fried with low-sodium soy sauce and served with 1 1/2 cups of brown rice. Add a large pear or similar fruit to your dinner.
Check out more of our blog posts about MyPlate.