MyPyramid Changes to MyPlate

Last week MyPyramid changed to MyPlate.

Dietitians and nutrition educators have been waiting for months for a new icon.  We knew there was going to be a change, but the details were kept top secret.  The new icon has a simple, but important message, we need foods from all five food groups at our meals AND half our plate should be fruits and vegetables.  Unlike the MyPyramid icon that tried to convey many specific messages, this new icon is just supposed to remind us about healthy eating.   Stay tuned as nutrition educators get innovative about how to use the new logo for breakfast and snacks as well as for meals.

There are lots of interesting programs on the ChooseMyPlate web site.  You can find interactive tools to analyze your diet and exercise, plan your diet, plan your child’s diet, and compare calories and nutrition between two foods.   Many of these activities will be rolled over to a new website planned to debut this fall.

New on the ChooseMyPlate site is a series called Ten Tips.  This consists of 14 different topics each with 10 tips/suggestions for changes you can make to be healthier.

Pointers by Peggy

My Top 10 Reasons to Garden

Little girl standing in a vegetable garden with spade in her hand, second little girl by a scooter with rake and shovelIt’s SPRING. Warm weather makes me start planning for my flower and vegetable garden.  Why?

  1. Health — Growing your own makes it easier to get the fruits and vegetables needed for good health. Kids involved in growing or preparing fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them.
  2. Exercise — Gardening provides both cardio and aerobic exercise. Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women, almost 400 calories for men. Mowing the grass equals a vigorous walk, bending and stretching while planting compares to an exercise class, and hauling plants and soil is like weightlifting.
  3. Taste – Nothing matches the taste of green beans, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, or peppers picked fresh from the garden.
  4. Satisfaction — A weed less, mulched garden gives me a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Learning — The more I learn about plants and gardening, the more I want to know. Problems with insects or spots on leaves make me want to find the cause and learn how to keep plants healthy.
  6. Family time — Time spent planting, weeding, and harvesting with family is filled with talk and laughter.
  7. Friendship — Gardening expands your social circle. Whether it’s someone who lives down the street or halfway around the world on the Internet, gardeners love to talk about plants. Surplus tomatoes, a bouquet, or an extra plant are gifts to share with friends and neighbors.
  8. Creativity — Gardening provides an outlet for the artist in all of us, whether it’s planting a bed of perennials or arranging flowers in a vase.
  9. Beauty and love of nature — I love the colors, shapes, textures and smells of flowers.  Having flowers in my home gives me joy.
  10.   Links to the farm — Gardening takes time, effort and knowledge.  After lots of work, plants can be destroyed by hail, disease, or animals. I have a great deal of respect for those who farm for a living.

Notice anything missing in my top ten reasons to garden?  Saving money.  That’s because gardens don’t always save money. The article, “Can a Vegetable Garden Save You Money”?  by Cindy Haynes, Extension Horticulturist, gives tips to help you save money on your garden.  It’s from 2009, but the message still applies.

-pointers from Peggy

2010 Healthy Homemade Calendar on sale for just $2

Last week I wrote about making food gifts for the holidays. One of my friends asked me why I didn’t mention that our 2010 Healthy and Homemade Nutrition and Fitness Calendar is on sale for only $2 plus shipping and handling from the ISU Extension online store. Good idea—so here are some details about the calendar.

The calendar features a monthly recipe and color photo complete with ingredient list, preparation directions, nutrition facts, and menu ideas. Also, as an extra bonus, the preparation of each recipe can be viewed from the recipes section of the Spend Smart. Eat Smart web site. These videos walk even the most inexperienced cook through the recipe with ease, answering preparation and ingredient substitution questions.

In addition to facts promoting healthy homemade eating, the calendar encourages exercise, movement, and physical activity. A chart at the bottom of the calendar makes it easy to set activity goals; small boxes on each day are designed to track activity numbers. For people who have a hard time getting motivated, there are suggestions each month for building and sustaining physical activity habits. The last two pages of the calendar contain physical activity information—the amount of activity needed each day, how to fit it into your schedule, and ideas for increasing activity.

-pointers from Peggy

$30 serves 8 a Healthy Holiday Dinner

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and for many of us that means lots of great food. But it doesn’t have to mean a lot of calories, extra weight, and an empty wallet. Last weekend we figured out a traditional menu that will serve 8 people a healthy meal for $30.

Why is it healthy? The turkey is roasted—not fried, the food is homemade so it isn’t loaded with sodium like many of the  convenience foods, the vegetables and fruits are prepared letting the natural flavors shine rather than be smothered, and we have skipped the crust on the pie and gone right to the ‘good for you’ pumpkin filling.

My sister is trying to promote a “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving morning for us—just like they do in her husband’s hometown. The Turkey Trot is a 3K route and everyone walks or runs as far as they want and are able. This sounds like a great plan to me, and I think it would work with our family since we share the cooking. Walking and talking sure makes the exercise go more quickly.

Check out the turkey dinner recipes and see how we figured the costs.

-pointers from Peggy

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