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Nutrition Guidelines : Simple Healthy Diet Plan

Nutrition guides outline dietary requirements which call for a variety of food intake to obtain essential nutrients and the right amount of calories to maintain healthy weight. They serve as excellent tools which help one make healthy food choices from the different food groups with clear indications of suggested intake.

MyPlate

MyPlate is the latest version of a nutrition guide produced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011 as an improvement on and a replacement for MyPyramid, which had been in existence since 2005.

The Havard School of Public Health went on to make further modifications to MyPlate and released their version, Havard Healthy Eating Plate, citing certain deficiencies in the former.

Healthy Eating Plate

The Healthy Eating Plate seeks to promote diet quality in general without specifying the daily calorie intake or servings with respect to the different food group. This is mainly due to the fact that calorie intake and nutritional needs are quite specific to the individual based on:

  • gender
  • age
  • activity level
  • body size

The guide does indicate the need for physical activity as this plays a key role in weight management. Alcohol consumption on the other hand, has been excluded in this version given that it is not beneficial to all and sundry.

Below is a tabulated form of the food groups, proportion intakes and recommendations based on the Healthy Eating Plate.

FOOD GROUPPROPORTIONNOTES
fruits and veggiesFruits & Veggies½ of your plateassorted vegetables

this excludes root vegetables like potatoes

fruits of all colours

whole grain bread

Whole Grains

¼ of your plateassorted whole grains

whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, oats, barley, quinoa, whole wheat, brown rice, wheat berries

curb intake of white bread, white rice and refined grains

protein sourcesHealthy Protein¼ of your plateversatile protein sources

fish, poultry, nuts, beans

curb intake of cheese and red meat

eliminate processed meats e.g., bacon and sausage from diet

healthy oil

Healthy Oils

in moderationhealthy vegetable oils

olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, soy oil

exclude partially hydrogenated oils which may have unhealthy trans fat

curb intake of butter

water

Water

curb intake of milk and other dairy products : 1 – 2 serving(s) daily

curb intake of juice : 1 small glass daily

water, beverages like coffee or tea with little or no sugar

eliminate sugary beverages

Physical Activity

Research studies do, in fact, indicate that a lower risk of heart disease can be attained when these clear-cut guidelines are followed. Visit the Harvard School of Public Health site for any further reading.

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