Last week, “My Plate” replaced the USDA’s food pyramid. The idea is to make it simpler and show what should be on your plate. Visit the USDA’s website www.choosemyplate.gov for more information and healthy tips.
Gone are the servings, now the recommendation is making half your plate fruits and vegetables. Rather than a meat group it is now protein. While it does appear more functional for most people, will it really make a difference in eating habits? After more than 17 years in the health care industry, I doubt it.
If eating were as simple as nourishing our bodies, then it would be easy. But how many of you are really thinking about nourishing your body when you choose to eat? Some of you may, but I can tell you from experience most people aren’t. Nels and I have been telling people for years to plan their biggest meal around vegetables rather than meat, and add in some protein and whole grain as an accompaniment. In the US that is not typical. When eating out (and often at most households) most meals are based on a meat (protein) and you’re lucky to get any vegetable that is barely more than a garnish. How about when you order pasta? Even if it is pasta with vegetables, it is mostly pasta. When you are at home making food for yourself, try tons of vegetables with a little pasta mixed in…now we are talking food for your health. Remember to make that pasta with whole grains.
Eating for most of us is an emotional and social event. We plan parties around food, meet people for lunch, sit down for dinner with the family and catch up, sit and connect with ourselves as we enjoy that bag of chips or bowl of ice cream, etc.. When you go out to eat are you thinking about what is the healthiest choice or the tastiest choice? Think about your thoughts when you are choosing something to eat. Is it on what will nourish you, or emotional like how will it taste, how you deserve to eat it, or something else?
Eating healthy really is simple. Most of your intake should be plant based; fruits, vegetables and whole grains; add in some lean sources of protein, limited low fat dairy if you choose to do so and healthy fats. Limit the processed foods, sweats and treats. Notice what you are thinking about when you choose the foods you eat, and if you need to change the way you think…ask yourself better questions that will help you make better food choices.