Daily Fruit Recommendations

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) MyPlate is part of a communications initiative based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices. The amount of fruit your family needs daily depends on each individual's age, sex, and their amount of physical activity. The USDA's MyPlate daily recommended amounts of fruit are shown in the table below.

According to the USDA's MyPlate program, 100% fruit juices can be appropriate substitutes for whole fruits. 

 

Move Over Pyramid for MyPlate

In June 2011, the USDA unveiled its new food guide icon – a plate - to replace the nearly 20 year-old pyramid. Most health professionals agree that the graphic is an improvement – if anything, it’s much more practical.

The new MyPlate is divided in into four equal parts; vegetables, fruits, grains and protein foods. A separate circle sits next to MyPlate representing the dairy group foods. Here’s the breakdown on what foods fit where and how to make them a part of your daily diet.

Fruits
Foods: Raw, cooked, canned, pureed or dried fruit, 100% fruit juice
Action step: Switch up your fruit and veggie intake by eating different colored produce – in general, the darker the color, the more vitamins and minerals.

Vegetables
Foods: Raw, cooked, frozen or canned vegetables, 100% vegetable juice
Action step: Try roasting or grilling vegetables, which brings out natural rich flavor and sweetness.

Grains
Foods: Breads, dry & cooked cereals, pasta, rice, tortillas, grits or other grains
Action step: Expand your grain horizons by trying foods like quinoa, barley or whole wheat couscous.

Protein
Foods: Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds
Action step: Eat fish twice a week and try a meatless meal (featuring beans or eggs) once a week.

Dairy
Foods: Milk, cheese, yogurt, calcium-fortified soy milk
Action step: If you have yogurt for breakfast, cheese at lunchtime and a glass of milk with dinner, you are well on your way to fulfilling your daily calcium needs.
 

Important MyPlate take-away messages (with more action steps):

Balancing Calories:
“Enjoy your food, but eat less.”
Tip: As often as possible, sit down to eat with no other distractions (turn off the TV, close the laptop or put down the phone.)

“Avoid oversized portions.”
Tip: Use a smaller dinner plate. You can still fill it up but it will automatically be a smaller portion - if you avoid “the pile up.”

Foods to Increase:
“Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.”
Tip: If you do go back for seconds, go for more veggies & fruit!

“Make at least half of your grains whole grains.”
Tip: Easy switches include mixing white rice with brown or whole wheat pasta with regular at first.

“Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.”
Tip: Smoothies are a delicious way to enjoy your low-fat dairy servings. Blend equal parts frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk.

Foods to Reduce:
“Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.” Tip: Most of the sodium in our diet doesn’t come from the salt shaker but rather from processed foods and fast food, so read those labels!

“Drink water instead of sugary drinks.”
Tip: If you aren’t a big water drinker, try adding lemon, orange or lime slices, a splash of fruit juice or swap in seltzer for a soda-like beverage.

For more tips, serving sizes based on your age/gender and interactive tools, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

-Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, LDN