Mar 4, 2012

Getting Our Plates In Shape

I bet you didn't know that March is National Nutrition Month. Pretty fancy, right? I probably shouldn't say this, but up until this year I really didn't pay too much attention to it. It's not that I'm not into nutrition....clearly. I just don't work in public health or a nutrition job that lends itself to talking to people about National Nutrition Month.

But this year is different. This year I have a blog. And talking is what we do best here :)

For National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asked dietitian bloggers to write about how we "get our plates in shape". You may recall the new plate image from the USDA that replaced the old food pyramid....

I think this image is very helpful and practical. Although it doesn't help explain how much to eat, it does nicely depict what to eat.

So, what does "get your plate in shape" mean to me? It means a lot of things, but for the sake of not putting you to sleep (wake up!), I'll focus on a few of my favorite points:

To me, "getting your plates in shape" means:
  • Think Before You Eat. Take a look at what's on your plate. Is it healthy? Is it balanced?
  • Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods. Aim to eat foods that offer the best nutritional "bang for your buck" such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and heart healthy fats.
  • Embrace Change. Real change starts in your mind. Once you change your mindset, your habits and lifestyle will follow.
A few additional tips from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are:
  1. Make half your plate fruits and veggies
  2. Make at least half your grains whole
  3. Drink fat-free or low-fat milk
  4. Eat a variety of protein sources
  5. Make foods high in salt, added sugar and fats occasional choices, not everyday
  6. Enjoy your food but eat less
I meet a lot of people trying to lose weight. Many of these people exercise regularly and are therefore confused why they're not losing weight. If this sounds like familiar, you may want to consider "getting your plate in shape" because - seriously - you can't out-exercise a bad diet. True story. A "bad diet" could mean you're not eating healthy foods or you're simply eating too much. Whatever the case, following the tips mentioned above can help you reach your health goals.

How can you get your plate in shape this week?? 


  1. Love that last image! So true. My focus for NNM is creating whole meals so that I can make sure my daily diet is balanced. I'm a big snack/graze throughout the day kind of person so my complete protein intake can suffer sometimes!

    1. I'm kind of a grazer too. I eat small frequent meals mostly to keep my appetite in check and prevent overeating at mealtimes, which was my problem years ago. Now I need to focus on getting enough calcium through dairy products. I'm not sure why 2-3 servings/day is so difficult for me....but it is! Thanks for your input!