A Healthy Kids Diet: Tips to Use MyPlate

Are you concerned about your children’s diet? Is the food they are eating high in calories and trans-fats and low in nutrients? As parents, our role is to teach our kids how to eat healthy so they can have a happy, healthy, and long life.

We are what we eat. It is well known that if you have unhealthy eating habits, you have a highest tendency of developing diseases. In contrast, if you eat the adequate amount of nutrients your body needs to function properly since your childhood; your probability of having more energy and a better quality of life will be higher. If you already know all this, why not paying attention to the food your kids have?

In 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found out that many Americans want to provide healthy meals for their children but they don’t know how to do it or where to start. As a response to this issue, the ChooseMyPlate.gov initiative was created. MyPlate is a very easy-to-understand icon—in the form of a plate—that moms and dads can use to develop healthy eating habits for their children and the entire family.

But you might be wondering right now, how can you use this icon to teach your kids how to eat healthier? For that, we provide you some tips so you can better understand this initiative, the MyPlate website, and the MyPlate icon:

Print a copy of the MyPlate icon

You just need to go to choosemyplate.gov to print a copy of the plate. Hang the icon on your fridge or in any part of your house where it is visible. By just seeing the icon you can have a general idea of the portions of every type of food your kids need to eat on a daily basis.

Use the Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure as a starting point

This four-page brochure tells you the type of food you need to cut back, the ones you need to increase in your diet, the portions of each food type you need to include on your plate, and how to understand food labels.

Track down the calories you and your kids consume

MyPlate.gov provides a link that automatically takes you to the Super Tracker website (https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx). Here you’ll be able to track the foods you and your children eat by entering the food you have (e.g. banana, apple, tomato, beef, chicken, etc.) as well as the food type (e.g. fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.).  This site also provides you the nutrition facts of each food, as well as other important things you need to know about it.

Teach your kids with your example

Remember that toddlers like to copy everything you do. Therefore, if you want your kids to eat healthy you need to become a role model for them. The PBS parents website suggests that you incorporate in your daily diet a combination of the food you like and the one your kids like. That way everyone will be happy and satisfied of what everyone is having for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  You can also make a quick game by sitting with your kids and ask them what would be a good choice for the dairy, fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains sections. That way they will not only eat the food they like, but you are also teaching them how to build a healthy plate.


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