MY PLATE: proportions and calories

 The image shown here is called My Plate from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It shows different proportions of the five different food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.

The different proportions show you how much of your diet should be from each category: The USDA recommends about 20% protein, 30% grains, 40% vegetables and 10% fruits. The blue circle represents a portion of dairy (the USDA suggests a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt as examples). Including milk is optional (see more in Doing Dairy because milk is not your only dairy option).

[If you click here you will find a list of foods for each food group to provide clarification. But please know that you will need to click back to return to this awesome sub-post!]

To put it simply, your diet is considered to be balanced when half your plate is vegetables and fruits since they contain so many nutrients your body needs, followed by whole grains and proteins. Dairy products supply their own benefits but should be consumed in moderation. These posts help you learn exactly what it means to, “Eat a balanced and healthy diet.”

So MyPlate shows you how much to eat of each category in relation to each other, but you may be wondering how much food overall is healthy? How much protein? A few ounces? Several pounds? My body weight? Well, you probably shouldn’t eat your body weight in food each day, but your body weight does help you to determine just how much food you should eat a day. 


Generally, the MyPlate guidelines refer to the amount of calories to consume given your age, height, gender, physical activity and weight. What is a calorie? A calorie is the standard measurement of how much energy is released by a food when digested in your body. All foods have a caloric number. So if you keep track of all the foods you ate in a day, including how much of each, you would know how many calories you ate that day.

How many calories a person should eat each day is determined by age, weight, gender (generally boys can take in more calories per day), height and physical activity. You can determine your specific calorie goal by going here:

On that page you will see “Get Your MyPlate Plan”. Click on that and enter your information. Then it will tell you how many calories to eat each day to maintain your weight. If you want to lose weight, you’d eat less than you daily calorie count, but it must be done safely and by choosing proper nutrition.

But don’t forget to come back because you will be leaving the YSS site. 

Eating too many calories can make a person put on weight, eating too little can cause weight loss but it can also cause a lack of nutrients and/or energy. That’s why managing your calories is important, just like managing the types of foods you eat.

My Plate helps you to manage the types of foods you eat and it is easy to follow. First though , understanding the building blocks of food will help you to better determine exactly what you want to put on YOUR plate…

Post Question:

Do you watch the number of calories you eat? Why or why not?

Answer the post question here

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