It’s Friday! Before you take off for the weekend, take some time to read this week’s best health and fitness headlines. This week’s dose of healthy news consists of a women-only run that gets pretty muddy, increasing your chances of pregnancy with a fertility-focused diet, and recipes for a solid weekend dinner.
Petition the FDA to Add Sugar in Teaspoons to Nutrition Labels
When buying processed food, reading the nutritional label is important for your health. Processed foods’ nutritional labels use the metric system, but most Americans do not understand it. Learn how some people are trying to change the nutritional label information from grams to teaspoons to make it easier to understand how much sugar you’re consuming.
Get Down and Dirty at Pretty Muddy, a Women-Only Obstacle Mud Run
You can get colorful with the Color Run or glow during the Glow Run, but have you thought about running Pretty Muddy? It’s a women-only 5K where you get down and dirty while running through a muddy obstacle course. Sign-up fast, the first run is in Chicago on September 15!
State of School Lunches: How MyPlate Will Start Making a Difference This Year
The food pyramid was replaced by MyPlate over a year ago. MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, and now school lunches have to meet these guidelines, too. Check a school cafeteria this fall.
News from our friends
5 Hot Workouts on the Horizon You Have to Try – FitBottomedGirls.com
Men: Improve Your Sex Life by Losing 2.5 Inches Off Your Waist – HealthBubble.com
The Fertility Diet – Yahoo! Shine
Recipes we love
BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw
Summery Black Bean Salad
Raspberry and Serrano Sangria – TreeHugger.com
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By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Last month, the USDA celebrated its one year anniversary of releasing MyPlate to replace the decades-old food guide pyramid in order to help Americans make healthier choices at mealtime. In case you haven’t seen it yet, MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, sectioned off with 50% attributed for fruits and vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein and a smaller circle next to the plate representing dairy. But is the government implementing this nutrition guide focusing on balance when it comes to the National School lunch program? With more than one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents being obese and students taking in about 20-50% of their daily food at school during the school year, is the math adding up to more nutritious school lunches?
This year, the USDA is requiring a revamp of school lunches due to first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative and as a component of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act signed by the president. Beginning July 1, 2012, new school lunch and general nutrition standards started rolling out and will continue for the next five years. The main changes, which are in line with MyPlate recommendations, include ensuring:
- Kids are offered fruits and veggies every day
- Offered more whole grains
- Only low fat or fat free milk
- Monitored calorie counts based on age to limit portions (more…)
By Len Saunders, MA
Children may be away from school and locked into summer mode, but July and August may be a great time to teach them about proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle through the USDA’s MyPlate.
As informative as the old MyPyramid used to be, quite honestly, it made nutrition a task to understand for most children. From their point of view, what does a pyramid have to do with food or nutrition? MyPlate does put it into perspective for kids at a level they can understand. They look at the plate, and see the food groups laid out for them in a form of a pie chart, distributing the percentages of the foods needed daily. For children, sometimes simple and basic is more effective to get a message across to prepare them for a healthy future.
Respected author and creator of the Zone Diet, Dr. Barry Sears agrees. “The earlier dietary habits are instilled in children, the longer they last.” (more…)
This is Gypsy Soup, Cheesy Cornbread, and fat-free milk. It is a typical lunch or dinner. I don’t distinguish between the two. Most of my food is eaten from a bowl, not a plate. I typically eat soups, ethnic dishes and full meal salads; I rarely eat meat with a side and I cook from scratch. (more…)
In honor of the National Nutrition Month 2012, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is launching a campaign to help “Get Your Plate in Shape” this March. The theme encourages Americans to eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s in accordance with the MyPlate guidelines. “USDA’s MyPlate is a great tool to guide and help us be mindful of the foods that make up our balanced eating plan,” states Academy spokesperson Andrea Giancoli. “Make sure your eating plan includes foods from all the food groups and in appropriate portions.”
Those familiar with MyPlate will recognize most of the recommendations to get your plate in shape:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Half of your grains should be whole grains.
- Vary your protein choices.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Earlier this year the USDA unveiled the MyPlate icon, replacing the MyPyramid graphic in an effort to simplify dietary recommendations for the American public. Yet despite the early excitement surrounding its unveiling, it appears not many Americans are choosing to implement the MyPlate guidelines.
In fact, most Americans are only meeting the MyPlate guidelines an average of one week out of the year. And this probably isn’t altogether that shocking given that most Americans fail to include vegetables or dairy at most meals. Additionally, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendations visually depicted by the MyPlate icon, often require more than three meals to be eaten each day in order to be achieved which can also prove difficult for individuals who don’t snack in between meals.
So are the MyPlate guidelines really a diet in disguise that most people can’t stick to for longer than a week? Not exactly. The guidelines behind MyPlate result from years of study and observation of eating behaviors among thousands of Americans. These guidelines outline a lifestyle, not a diet, however without proper guidance they can be just as difficult to stick to.
When implementing the MyPlate guidelines, it’s important to know where to start and to have a little background information on what these guidelines mean. This, of course, requires you to go beyond the plate and develop your own MyPlate-based plan that works over the long-term. And although it’s easy to say this is something you want to do, actually doing it is a lot harder.
By Jill Buonomo
Many people grew up learning to base their food choices on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid, which was recently reinvented as MyPlate. The updated guidelines, communicated via a simple, color-coded graphic, are focused on proper portions of the four major food groups. The plate is divided into sections for proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables — with a glass of milk beside it representing the dairy group.
But does it go far enough? The researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Medical School didn’t think so. They’ve created their own guidelines, dubbed the Healthy Eating Plate. The Harvard guidelines are presented as a more specific alternative to the USDA’s MyPlate; an option based on science and created without any political or commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists.
The Harvard Difference
The Healthy Eating Plate is similar to USDA’s MyPlate in that it’s a colorful and graphical representation of a healthy diet. But it goes much further in terms of distinguishing healthy choices within each food group.
For example, a vegetable is not a vegetable in the eyes of the Harvard nutritionists. While the vegetable section is the largest, they suggest forgoing potatoes (and by extension, French fries) altogether. Likewise, whole grains are recommended over refined options like white rice and white bread. (more…)
When it comes to eating healthy, it’s never to early to start. Although nutrition can seem like a difficult topic to discuss with a young child, keeping it simple can set them up for a lifetime of healthy choices.
With the recent unveiling of the new USDA food icon MyPlate, starting up nutrition conversations with individuals of any age has become much more simple. In fact, the new icon is so recognizable that even young children can begin to identify what a healthy plate should look like. Educators and parents alike should use this symbol to not only help their children build healthy plates, but to start conversations with them about what eating healthy is and the importance behind it.
To help educators and parents out, many lesson plans exist to incorporate the MyPlate icon into the classroom and the home. To add to this ever-growing list of fabulous resources, please find two additional lesson plans ready for use below. The idea behind these is to make talking about nutrition fun and help children identify how their food choices fit into a well-balanced meal plan.
The fall of 2011 will begin the first school year since MyPlate was introduced as the official replacement for MyPyramid. Much of the success of the new icon is in the hands of the educators who will use it in their classrooms. Many schools are preparing to incorporate MyPlate into their curricula for all age groups, and it is also already being used in nutrition education for adults and families.
“MyPyramid has gone through changes over its lifetime,” said Sharre Littrell. “I would say that this is the first one that I feel is really consumer-friendly, because we don’t eat in a pyramid. We eat on a plate.”
Littrell is a nutrition educator for UC Davis Cooperative Extension (UCCE), an organization that helps educate communities in California about healthy eating. Although the school year hasn’t started yet, Littrell has been using the MyPlate icon in family and adult educational sessions. In the fall, UCCE educators will visit about 55 low-income schools to teach both students and teachers about healthy foods and to distribute curricula for future use.
For Littrell and her colleague Josie Rucklose, incorporating MyPlate into an existing curricula wasn’t difficult because MyPyramid is based on the many of the same underlying principles. “We’re already talking about fruit and vegetable consumption, we’re already talking about whole grain consumption, but what we get to do now is incorporate that by showing them a plate,” said Littrell.