If your childhood resembled anything like mine, you grew up with your elders continually declaring things like “You need to eat three servings of greens a day!” and my personal favorite: “Eat your carrots or you’ll go blind!” As helpful, and slightly horrifying, as that advice is, I did and still do not know for certain what quantifies a serving of greens or how many baby carrots it takes to make a cup. Luckily for us all, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have taken the guesswork out of the fruit and veggie serving equation with their new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Instead of altering the serving requirements for fruits and vegetables in our daily diets, the USDA and HHS are recommending that we follow the Half Plate Rule: basically, fill half your plate with the fruits and veggies of your choice, leaving the other half of the plate for other equally tasty things. By just following this refreshingly straightforward rule, we can all finally live up to the standards set for us by parents, grandparents, and that pesky food pyramid.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every five years as a way to examine developments in nutritional science—such research helps to set guidelines for things like USDA school meal programs. The Guidelines document also recommends that Americans reduce their intake of sugar, sodium, and solid fats; the goal is to slash the maximum recommendation for sodium consumption from 2,300mg to 1,500mg per day. The Half Plate Rule goes a long way in making this goal a reality.
Lets raise our half-full plates and toast to a healthier tomorrow!
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