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Dish up a good-for-you plate

Enjoy flavorful, better-for-you meals by filling your plate to look like this:

Dishing up your plate like this helps you get the good stuff at every meal. Plus, it balances the nutrients your body needs to stay active, strong and healthy. Use the below tips to get started – just remember the amount of servings you need from each food group depends on age, sex and level of physical activity.

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies

    Fruits: Choose any fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruit or 100 percent fruit juice

    • 1 serving = 1/2 cup of fruit or 100 percent fruit juice or 1/4 cup of dried fruit

    Vegetables: Choose any fresh, canned, frozen or dried/dehydrated vegetable or 100 percent vegetable juice

    • 1 serving = 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice or 1 cup of raw leafy greens
  2. Make at least half of your grains whole grains
    Whole grains are any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain. Some examples include bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits. Whole grains have the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ and endosperm. Choose whole grains like whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal and brown rice.
    • 1 serving = 1 slice of bread or ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or cereal
  3. Focus on protein variety
    All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds are part of this food group. Choose a variety of protein foods to get more nutrient power and health benefits.
    • 1 serving = 3 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, one egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds
  4. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
    All milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this group. Most dairy choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that maintain their calcium content are part of this group but foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream and butter, are not.
    • 1 serving = 1 cup of milk, yogurt or soymilk or 1 ounce of cheese
  5. Practice moderation with better-for-you oils
    Oils are not a food group but they do provide essential nutrients and are therefore included in USDA recommendations for what to eat. However, only small amounts of oils are recommended. In fact, oils and solid fats both contain about 120 calories per tablespoon so they need to be limited to balance total calorie intake.
    • 1 serving = 1 teaspoon