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Make healthy choices with MyPlate

What do the Incredible Hulk and MyPlate have in common?

Two things: One, they both include the color green, and two, they are both celebrating a birthday!

The Incredible Hulk is celebrating its 50th anniversary (it first appeared in 1962), while MyPlate will be celebrating its first year this June.

One year ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced their new and improved health food icon, MyPlate, which replaced MyPyramid.

As MyPlate celebrates its first birthday, it also wants to remind Americans that it is possible to eat healthfully at every meal. MyPlate illustrates easy and fun ways to make healthy food choices by encouraging consumers to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables, and to choose whole grains, lean proteins and low fat dairy.

MyPlate also encourages Americans to balance calories by increasing the intake of healthy food and decreasing high fat/high sugary foods in their daily diet.

One strategy to make dinner plates look more like the new USDA’s healthy eating icon is to colorize! That is, filling most of the plate with different colors.

To colorize, use orange carrots, dark green spinach, gold colored pineapple, purple eggplant, blueberries, red strawberries, light green celery, blackberries, deep orange sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, green kiwis, purple cabbage and more. The options are endless.

By creating a colorful plate, adding whole grains, lean proteins (like beans) and switching to low fat dairy products, consumers can easily create and enjoy healthy meals.

So throughout the month of June, you too can start making healthy eating choices. And while you are at it, take advantage of the warm summer days and be active. As you strive to eat healthier think about including more colors into your meals such as reds, oranges, yellows, blue, purples and of course the Hulk’s favorite… green!

Happy first birthday, MyPlate!

For more information about MyPlate visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

About Julia Salomón MS, RD, CD

Julia is the corporate dietitian at Affinity Health System and also a nutrition educator. She works at various sites throughout the organization working with Affinity’s employee wellness program. She earned her Master’s degree in nutrition science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and became a dietitian shortly thereafter. Julia has worked on several nutrition projects abroad as well as domestically. Before joining Affinity Health System in June of 2011, she worked as a college dietitian and later in the school nutrition field. She has earned certificates of training in adult and childhood weight management. Julia has a special interest in nutrition, public health and wellness.

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