Are my kids eating enough? Do they eat too much junk food? How much exercise should they be getting? How can I eat to lose weight? I've heard about limiting my portion sizes, but what does that really mean?
All of these questions can be answered by going to MyPlate. MyPlate is a guide to healthy eating published by the United States Department of Agriculture at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. This website can be a useful tool in improving healthy eating and exercise behaviors in your own life and in your family. It includes the most current recommendations about eating and exercise. Let's take a look at the new MyPlate!
Exactly how much should you eat from each food group? That depends on you! The amount that you should eat depends on your age, gender and activity level. The beauty of MyPlate is that you can personalize it to meet your needs. Just visit Supertracker! Create Your Profile and it will create a personal guide for you based on the information you enter. You can also create a personal guide for anyone in your family that is 2 years and older. Your guide will tell you how many servings to eat from each food group daily. Portion sizes are given in either cups or ounces. Keep in mind that the individualized plan will be enough for a person at a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you may lose weight gradually if you follow this plan. You can also talk to a doctor or dietitian about a healthy weight loss plan.
MyPlate shows that exercise and healthy eating go together. Most adults need at least 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity or vigorous exercise each day. This will help maintain a healthy weight. Children and teenagers need a minimum of 60 minutes per day. When exercising at moderate intensity, your heart rate should be elevated but you should still be able to talk. To learn more about the importance of exercise and tips for increasing your physical activity, visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity.
As you try to achieve a healthy balance in your diet, it is always helpful to evaluate how you are doing. Supertracker is an online service that helps you track and analyze what you eat and how much you exercise. Measure or estimate the amount of each food item. For example, if you eat a taco estimate or measure the amount of each food, such as a flour tortilla, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and grated cheese. Remember to include all snacks and beverages. Don't cheat on your record. Recording that you ate less than what you really ate, or leaving off foods that you feel guilty about will not help you. If you record all the foods you eat you will have a clear picture of your eating patterns. Also, keep a record of all physical activity you do. The website will then do a quick analysis of your eating and exercise and give you recommendations.
Remember, MyPlate is a guide to healthy food choices and exercise. There are many other resources available to help you live a healthy lifestyle. Your WIC dietitian can answer any questions you have about MyPlate. You will receive encouragement as you and your family work toward your nutrition goals.
***Note: Choose MyPlate is meant for people who are generally healthy and free of chronic disease. If you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or kidney disease, you should consult with your doctor and dietitian to obtain specific dietary recommendations.
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