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Posted May 28 2012 2:52pm

MyPlate has recently replaced the food guide pyramid. MyPlate illustrates the five food groups (protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy) by using a place setting for a meal. The concept of MyPlate is to focus on a balanced plate of food (for whatever your individual needs might be as based on age, gender, height, and level of physical activity). For example, as shown in the picture below, half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables. 

The fruit group includes any fruit or 100% fruit juice and may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried.

The vegetable group includes any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice and may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated.

The grain group includes any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.

Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Grains are made out of a grain kernel. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm), while refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and the germ of the grain kernel in order to produce a finer texture and improve their shelf life. The process of refining grains removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Most refined grains are enriched, which means that some B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron are added back after the refining processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. At least half of your total grain intake should come from whole grains.

Examples of whole grains include:

-Whole-wheat flour
-Bulgur (cracked wheat)
-Whole cornmeal
-Brown rice

Some examples of refined grain products are:

-White flour
-De-germed cornmeal
-White bread
-White rice

The protein group includes foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas (also part of the vegetable group), eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds. Meat and poultry choices should often (not always) be lean, low fat, and varied.

The dairy group includes all fluid milk products and many foods made from milk, including cheese, yogurt, and milk based desserts (as well as calcium-fortified soymilk). Dairy choices should often (not always) be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group, however, foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not part of the dairy group.

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature (like the vegetable oils used in cooking). Oils come from many different plants and from fish. Oils are not a food group, but they provide essential nutrients and are therefore an important part of our intake.

Some commonly eaten oils include:

-Canola oil
-Corn oil
-Cottonseed oil
-Olive oil
-Safflower oil
-Soybean oil
-Sunflower oil

Some oils are used mainly as flavorings, such as walnut oil and sesame oil. A number of foods are naturally high in oils, like:

-Some fish


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