Happy Birthday MyPlate and Teaching Guide

Did you know that MyPlate's birthday is June 2? To celebrate let's teach the basics about using MyPlate! Teaching MyPlate to various audiences can be an engaging and educational experience. MyPlate is a visual guide created by the USDA to help people build healthy eating habits by illustrating the five food groups that are the building blocks of a healthy diet. Here are some effective strategies to teach MyPlate:

1. Introduction to MyPlate

Objective: Provide a basic understanding of the MyPlate concept.

  • Show the MyPlate Image: Start by displaying the MyPlate image. Explain that it represents a healthy, balanced meal by including the 5 major food groups and their proportions.
  • Explain the Five Food Groups: Describe each section of the plate: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.
    • Fruits and Vegetables: Should make up half of the plate.
    • Grains: At least half should be whole grains.
    • Protein: Include a variety of protein sources.
    • Dairy: Include low-fat or fat-free options.

2. Interactive Activities

Objective: Engage participants in learning about MyPlate through hands-on activities.

  • Food Group Sorting: Provide pictures of different foods and have participants sort them into the correct MyPlate categories.
  • Create a Plate Activity: Give participants a blank MyPlate template and have them draw or paste images of foods to create a balanced meal.
  • MyPlate Meals: Have participants plan a meal or a day's worth of meals that follow the MyPlate guidelines.

3. Educational Games

Objective: Reinforce the MyPlate concepts through fun and interactive games.

  • MyPlate Bingo: Create bingo cards with different foods from each food group. Call out food items and have participants mark them on their cards.
  • Jeopardy Game: Create a Jeopardy-style game with categories based on the food groups, nutrition facts, and healthy eating tips.

4. Cooking Demonstrations

Objective: Show practical applications of MyPlate through cooking.

  • Healthy Recipe Demonstrations: Prepare a recipe that includes all five food groups and explain how it fits into MyPlate.
  • Hands-On Cooking Classes: Allow participants to prepare their own meals using MyPlate guidelines.

5. Nutrition Education

Objective: Provide detailed information about each food group and healthy eating habits.

  • Nutrient Benefits: Explain the nutritional benefits of each food group and why they are important for overall health.
  • Portion Sizes: Teach about proper portion sizes and how they can fit into MyPlate.
  • Healthy Choices: Discuss how to make healthier choices within each food group, such as choosing whole grains over refined grains.

6. Real-Life Applications

Objective: Help participants apply MyPlate principles to their daily lives.

  • Meal Planning: Provide tips and templates for planning balanced meals.
  • Grocery Shopping Tips: Offer advice on how to shop for foods that fit into MyPlate.
  • Reading Nutrition Labels: Teach participants how to read and understand nutrition labels to make healthier choices.

7. Use of Technology and Resources

Objective: Utilize available resources and technology to enhance learning.

  • MyPlate App: Introduce participants to the MyPlate app, which can help track food intake and provide personalized nutrition advice.
  • Online Resources: Utilize the USDA's MyPlate website, which offers a variety of educational materials, interactive tools, and resources for different age groups.

8. Age-Specific Approaches

Objective: Tailor the teaching methods to the age group of the audience.

  • For Children: Use more visuals, simple language, and fun activities like coloring sheets and games.
  • For Teens: Focus on practical applications, such as how to make quick, healthy meals and snacks.
  • For Adults: Provide more in-depth information about nutrition and health benefits, meal planning, and managing dietary restrictions.

By combining these strategies, you can effectively teach the principles of MyPlate and encourage healthier eating habits in your audience. Remember to keep the sessions interactive, practical, and tailored to the needs of the participants.