Balancing Your Diet

“Get Your Plate in Shape” by balancing the calories you eat while still enjoying all of the foods you love.

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. Over the day, include foods from all food groups. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends these tips to “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

Tip #1: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Fruits and vegetables make great, crunchy snacks, are low in calories and provide the nutrients you need.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas.

Tip #2: Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk.

  • Switching to fat-free or low-fat milk provides you with the same amount of calcium and essential nutrients as whole milk, but with less fat and calories.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Tip #3: Make at least half your grains whole.

  • Choose 100-percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice.
  • Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.

Tip #4: Vary your protein choices.

  • Eat a variety of foods from the protein group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
  • Eat lean portions of meat and poultry

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics