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March 2013 Health Challenge

Focus on Nutrition. March is National Nutrition Month. Learning to make healthier food choices starts with the fundamentals of overall food patterns. While this may be challenging for some, it can also be fun. MyPlate offers a free online diet tracker, in addition to nutrition information that follows the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Specifically, the Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables while eating less added sugars, solid fats and reducing sodium intake.

Use the scorecard to track your daily progress. Give yourself 1 point for each serving of fruits and vegetables consumed per day (maximum points = 5/day), 1 point for each completed daily food journal, 1 point for eating foods with whole grains and 1 point for eating a serving of lean protein. The maximum total daily points are 8 per day. Sunday is a bonus day.

Whole Grains: Try to incorporate whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.

Lean Proteins: Choose seafood, lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it or grill it. Make an effort to vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

What is a serving size? Here are a few examples of serving sizes:

  • 1 cup of whole grain cereal (size of
    your fist)
  • 1 ounce of cheese (size of four dice)
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread (size of a hockey puck)
  • 1 medium piece of fruit (size of a baseball)
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 3 ounces of fish (size of a
  • 3 ounces of lean meat (size of a deck of cards)
  • ½ cup of whole grain pasta (size of a baseball)
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables
  • ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables

For more information on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to learn how to build a healthy plate, visit the MyPlate website at www.choosemyplate.gov

Following the guidelines and getting the recommended physical activity will lead to a healthier you!