A Kids’ Guide To MyPlate

We’ve come a long way from the “4 Food Groups” of mid-20th century America.

Thank goodness! Back in the 1950s and 60s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was extolling the virtues of red meat and full-fat dairy foods like cheese, butter, and whole milk. But soon after, research started pouring in showing that all these foods, rich in saturated fat, led to heart disease, the #1 killer in America.

Today, the focus of USDA guidelines is not meat and full-fat dairy. It is fruits; vegetables; whole grains; healthy sources of protein like fish, skinless poultry, and beans; and lean sources of dairy such as fat-free milk.

All the above echo the guidelines of the Pritikin Eating Plan, which has been taught at the internationally renowned Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida for more than four decades. Year-round, adults attend the Pritikin Longevity Center to learn how to live healthier, eat better, exercise, lose weight, and reduce heart disease risks like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

“One of the biggest gifts we can give our children is a healthy lifestyle.”

Every summer, the Pritikin Longevity Center is also full of children who are part of Pritikin’s Family Health Camp. “One of the biggest gifts we can give our children is a healthy lifestyle. We teach them a healthy lifestyle here at Pritikin,” says Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin.

“It’s such a rewarding experience,” she smiles. “The children discover a whole new way of living. They learn that they actually like healthy food like fruits and vegetables, and that they want to keep living this way.”

A Kids’ Guide To MyPlate

The USDA’s learning tool for children, MyPlate, mirrors the guidelines taught by nutritionist Kimberly Gomer and the other faculty at Pritikin. Links below take you to MyPlate.

In quick summary, MyPlate and the Pritikin Eating Plan recommend the following:

  • The more fruits and veggies, the better!
  • For grains, your best choice is whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice.
  • For protein, your best choices are lean sources such as skinless white poultry, fish, and plant sources of protein like legumes (for example, pinto beans, black beans, peas, and lentils).
  • For calcium-rich foods, choose sources that are low in saturated fat, such as nonfat dairy milk, nonfat yogurt, and fortified soymilk.

Here are more resources. Encourages Kimberly: “Healthy habits established early in life pave the way for healthy habits throughout life.”

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