March is National Nutrition Month “Get Your Plate in Shape!”

Happy National Nutrition Month! Since 1980, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) has dedicated the month of March to nutrition education across the US to get the word out about the importance of healthy eating. Each year has a different theme, and this year is “Get your plate in shape!” The theme is based off of the new visual called “MyPlate” that recently replaced the food pyramid. The link to the picture below was created by the US Department of Agriculture.

As you can see, new guidelines suggest that half of your plate be made up of fruits and vegetables, and the other half with grains and protein. Dairy such as low fat milk or yogurt are great side items to add to your plate as well. Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics regarding a healthy plate and healthy lifestyle!

1. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. The more color, the better! Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables all count. When choosing canned vegetables look for reduced sodium or no salt added.

2. Make half of your grains whole! Whole grains contain the fiber our bodies need to stay healthy. Look for 100 % whole grain breads, pasta, cereals, and brown rice when grocery shopping.

3. Switch to fat free or low fat milk. These choices have the same amount of bone-strengthening calcium as whole milk but a fraction of the fat and calories. When purchasing yogurt, look for the “light” version.

4. Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group. Seafood, nuts, beans, eggs, turkey and chicken are all healthy choices to choose from.

5. Watch out for processed foods with added sodium and sugar! Be sure to look at food labels for sodium content. Choose products lower in sodium and add spices or herbs to add flavor during cooking. Drink more water and cut back on soda. Look for 100 % fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks at the grocery store.

For more information and tips on how to get your plate in shape, visit

-Lauren Shadle, Intern at Stacey Schulman Nutrition