Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Plate.

The government is dishing up healthy eating advice, not with a new food pyramid, but instead, with an image of a plate. The new icon, called My Plate, is divided into four sections — fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. It replaces the pyramid image, which was first introduced in 1992 and painfully revised in 2005. This simple image makes it obvious what we should be eating more of -- fruits and  veggies -- and what we should eat in moderation -- grains and protein.

Some practical pointers are also being introduced as part of a healthy eating initiative:
● Enjoy your food, but eat less.
● Avoid oversized portions.
● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
● Make at least half your grains whole grains.
● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
We are making a conscious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables in our house. We drink only skim milk and discourage any sugary drinks except on rare occasions. I've had a very hard time convincing my kids that whole wheat pasta is a suitable substitute, though. But we have always enjoyed whole wheat bread with no complaints. And I rarely serve my family meals that are not mostly homemade {hmm, except pizza night, hot dog lunches and nights out}. I also don't stock chips or other salty treats regularly {unless the hubs hits the grocery}. I do indeed subscribe to the "shop the outside of the grocery store, not the aisles" philosophy. 

But I admit, tonight I gave my kids cereal for dinner. And I am certain there were no whole grains involved. And they had hot dogs for lunch. 

The challenge for me is living it every single day. 

But I feel guilty if I am not providing healthy meals for our family. I've {unwittingly} taken that task on as my job. I stay at home. I must cook. And I admit I generally do have time to cook healthy meals. 

And I do. 

Most of the time. 

I recently read an article on living a healthy lifestyle. It was referring more to exercising than eating, but the premise is the same {at least in my ever-justifying mind}: don't be too hard on yourself and always look at the big picture, not any one moment in time. 

So yes, today my family did not eat so well. But over any given month, we eat more than our fair share of raw spinach and red peppers and grapes and strawberries and apples and snap peas. And I'm fairly certain there was no fast food consumed in that same month. 

I'm not sure this philosophy is suggested by the USDA, but not obsessing over every single meal is going to have to be my philosophy!

What do you do to ensure your family eats well, at least regularly? 

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