Dinner time is one of the few times throughout the day where families can sit down and enjoy a meal together. According to the 2017 Florida Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 65% of high school students reported eating dinner at home with a parent at least four times a week (Florida Health).What’s on your plate during that meal is almost as important as the people you are sharing it with. The United States Department of Agriculture has made it easy for families to build a healthy eating style through MyPlate!  MyPlate starts by showing you the five basic food groups and then breaks down how much of each food group you should have, depending on your age. You can create your MyPlate Plan, which offers a full meal plan based off of the measurements you provide (age, gender, height, weight).

Why are these food groups so important?

Fruits & Vegetables - fruits and veggies provide the nutrients needed to maintain your health and fight off chronic illnesses. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and none have cholesterol. (Apples, oranges, bananas/spinach, broccoli, squash)

Grains – grains are an important source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. Fiber from whole grains can reduce risks of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. (Breads, oatmeal, rice, pasta)

Protein – foods in the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seed group also provide vital nutrients. However, it is important to be mindful of saturated fat and cholesterol levels of certain proteins in this food groups as they could cause health implications. 

Dairy – consuming dairy products provides many health benefits including calcium, potassium, vitamin D, protein and improved bone health. (Milk, yogurt, cheese, milk-based desserts)

How does this help me at dinner time?

Great question! MyPlate offers a ton of food options, recipes, and menus! By knowing the healthy portion for each person in your family, you can enjoy all of your favorite meals tailored specifically to YOU! This will also help cut down on the amount of food that is wasted because everyone is eating just the right amount. They even offer money saving tips for low cost recipes and navigating each isle so you can eat healthy on a budget!

Head over to www.choosemyplate.gov and create your plate with family today!

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