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Food challenge: Is MyPlate possible and affordable?
June 14th, 2011
11:48 AM ET

Food challenge: Is MyPlate possible and affordable?

While writing about the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, I wondered if anyone can eat like this consistently.

In its color-by-numbers simplicity, MyPlate is a constant reminder of how far my diet falls from the ideal.  Vegetables on my plate are like Sumatran tigers in the wild - they're verging on extinction.

“Comparing the ideal proportions of MyPlate to those of the typical American diet is like holding MyPlate up to a fun-house mirror,” Health.com wrote.

“Even if Americans hear the message that they need to eat more fruits and vegetables, for instance, MyPlate’s 50% standard may be difficult for many people to live up to."

And here's what iReporters said their ideal versions of MyPlate would look like.  The Pop Tarts and cheese puffs on photo 4 is my favorite.

Having written about a few food challenges, involving Twinkies, school lunches and unprocessed foods, I wanted to put MyPlate to a test.

Could I eat what MyPlate suggests for a week?  And can I afford it on an average American budget?

Here are the rules:

1. Eat as closely to the MyPlate icon as possible.

For the next seven days, I will eat and Tweet my meals.  The food groups will be compartmentalized in my trusty bento box.

If I can’t fill my plate with enough of one food group, I will try to make up for it in other meals during the rest of the day.

This challenge is not about weight loss. This is about eating within the MyPlate icon.

2. Spend only $61.27 the entire week.

A common complaint is that healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains cost too much.  This challenge would be far easier if I could walk into Whole Foods and buy prepared meals and vegetables.  But that's not possible for most Americans.

The average American household spends about $6,372 every year on food, both groceries and restaurants.

The unit per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  in 2009, was 2.5 persons.  I’ve divided the yearly expenditure on food and divided by 2 persons and 52 weeks.

Addictive infographic on how Americans spend on food, sorted by cities

The challenge is to eat healthy within the budget constraints of the average American household.  So groceries will come from mainstream stores.

3. Integrate the challenge into dining out.

Another frequent complaint is that it’s hard to make healthy choices when dining at restaurants.

I plan to eat out and order foods that meet the nutritional guidelines. This is tough when restaurants in the South list macaroni and cheese as a vegetable on their menus and your greens are always bathed in fat.

I’ll be tweeting from @MadisonCNN.  Send your suggestions or questions.

If you're curious,  give it a try.  Happy eating!


soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. This is unreasonable for some.

    I'm allergic to dairy, and allergic to most all grains.
    So, ha, no, not possible.
    My body and my doctor would throw a fit if I tried to follow this.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pam

      I am very sorry about your difficulties. Surely you would have to tailor your diet to fit your needs. Nevertheless, even you could concede that eating more fruits and vegetables would be beneficial.

      July 21, 2011 at 03:28 | Report abuse |
  2. BD

    One of the reasons the MyPlate icon is so bogus is that not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. I could do far more harm than good if my vegetables and fruit were things like Coconut, Avocado, and potatoes.

    That said, its good that the gov't is putting some effort into the national health crisis.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe in Colorado

      Why avocados? I eat a whole avocado every single day, and am pretty fit.

      June 14, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      Avocados is a source of healthy fat.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Of course fruits and vegetables are not created equal. That's why you need a variety of them so make sure you get the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • G Stenson

      I eat coconuts, avocado and sweet potatoes on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily. On the contrary, elevating one's blood sugar levels with frequent consumption of high sugar, high glycemic fruits like pineapple and watermelon can pose a health risk.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • M

      Coconuts and avocados are healthy. I hate how the grain and dairy industry weasled their way in there. Farming and animal husbandry = cancer and disease!

      June 15, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  3. Foodlobbying

    Protein while not being a food group per se, made it on the plate because of the meat companies decades of lobbying to push the govt to equate meat with protein and the lobbyists won. As one of the posts mentions..protein is in Dairy, Nuts, vegs, fish, grains. The same reason with Diary getting its own cup...lobbying. So the foolproof way to eat it is eat everything but in moderation.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • G

      yeah those meat lobbyists are forcing me to eat steaks, burgers and all the other meats I consume...mmm-mmmm

      June 14, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • M

      If Exxon started selling small shots of gasoline as food, would you still say everything in moderation is healthy? And the proteins from non-animal sources are toxic. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and seed oils are loaded with omega-6 fat which has been shown to promote cancer growth. Read The China Study but ignore the text part and look at the numbers from his data. The author's numbers actually prove that animal products protect against cancer, and vegan societies have higher rates of mortaility. The China Study didn't realize it was digging its own hole!

      June 15, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
  4. Sagebrush Shorty.

    Another dumb government program. Millions of dollars wasted on something that practically no one pays attention to.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brendan R

      Oh come on! It's called MyPlate, like the iPhone! So it's hip, see?

      June 14, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
    • Liutgard

      Getting a surprisingly large amount of attention for something that 'practically no one pays any attention to'.

      June 15, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    Price does affect the way we shop for healthy foods sometimes. When I eat sandwiches for lunch, I try to pick out whole grain bread whenever possible. Sometimes it's on sale and reasonable. Most of the time it's not. When I am struggling with money and I look at a 1 lb loaf of white bread for about $1 and a 1/2 lb loaf of whole grain bread for $3, I am going to choose the $1 loaf.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      What planet do you shop on? My local specialty bread store sells a 2-pound loaf of either white or whole wheat for $3.50. In the grocery store, several brands have both white and wheat for the same price, and while the "wheat" may not be whole grain, it's definitely closer to it than the white.

      June 14, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Susan, that's really good... I wish the prices were that good here.. I am in TN.. We only have one grocery store in this town and sometimes I think the prices are inflated. I am also comparing the generic to name brand. There are no generic "whole grain" products. I could get wheat, and I might do that from now on, but I didn't think it was much better for you than white since it didn't say "whole grain". I will try that next time, though. Thanks for the advice.

      June 14, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • Kathi

      Have you considered making your own bread? For a little cost you could incorporate fresh ground whole wheat flour and make a healthy loaf. I love my own fresh bread and I know exactly what's going in it.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • M

      White bread is better for you than wheat bread since it has a LOWER glycemic load (yes, I said lower) and plus the toxic "whole grain" part has been stripped off. This whole movement of whole grains and brown rice, etc is just making things worse. Grains have a natural defense built in so mammals (yes, us) get a dose of toxins when we ingest them. Anyway, back to the white bread glycemic load, it contains fewer calories and fewer carbs than wheat bread, and therefore raises insulin far less. So many lies being marketed to consumers today... it's just killing everyone.

      June 15, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      I sincerely hope no one reading these comments is taking "M" seriously. Holy misinformation!

      June 29, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  6. Sara

    We do myplate meals for my family of 6 and we're on WIC. Taught the kids the half plate thing years ago–as it's easy and healthful. Key is eating in season and buying produce at both warehouse clubs (Costco, BJs, Sam's Club) and farmer's market. We live off of $125/week–and half of our budget is fruits/veggies. We do not buy convenience foods–everything (including bread) we make from scratch. We eat out maybe 1x/month–if that. Drinks are water or low-fat milk mainly–one glass of juice w/breakfast. Protein is beans, meat (ground beef mixed with TVP), chicken, or fresh fish which is cheaper if you buy it at an Asian market. Not a lot of room for extras–but it is doable.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Buy Buy Buy

      NO you do not live off 125.00 a week you have already admitted to being on WIC. Add that price into what you are buying. The price goes up. Or you live in really cheap state.
      I know here in TEXAS they have people saying they can do what you are saying but here is how they do it. WIC used at the Grocery Store Food Stamps used at 2 places a specialty store or a Grocery store for the people on food stamps or IKE victims as they want to be called.
      Then I see about 1/2 of their food stamps being traded for cash so they can buy cigs and gas.
      But those like myself that work our butts off do not get help and we have to spend anywhere from 75.00 to 125.00 a week for 2 depending on if you need household goods.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • Food Scientist

      Dear Buy Buy Buy,

      Pi$$ off!

      Here is a WIC beneficiary using the benefit to actually teach her children to eat healthily. You seize on her post to vent your spleen over the abuses of a few, inflated in your Red-State peabrain to include all WIC families. Congratulate Sara on doing the right thing.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Sara, I think Mr. BuyBuyBuy owes you an apology. You are a good example to your family. You are taking the help that you get from WIC and using it to buy healthy foods and teach your kids the right way to eat. The fact that some people want to demonize anyone who receives any type of public aid does not make sense to me. Implying that you must not be hard working and equating you to people who clearly do not use their benefits well is insulting, quite frankly. Good for you for doing so well with what you have, and probably better than a lot of people who have more.

      June 14, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • BNS

      I wish my family of 4 could be on WIC and food stamps. We get to pay taxes and regular prices.

      June 14, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      BNS, you would rather live at poverty levels than to afford regular prices?

      June 14, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • BNS

      Who said I can afford it? We definitely don't have three circular, balanced meals per person here.. and my husband makes too much to qualify for anything. Once you take the cost of gas out of our discretionary budget each week, we're left with about $70 for 4.

      June 14, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • Allyson

      Sara, I am so pleased to hear this. I work as a Nutrition Educator for WIC in Florida. Eating healthy can fit into a person's budget if they make an effort. I am constantly offering advice on how to "shop smart" for fruits, vegatable, and whole grains. A lot of people do not realize that fruits/vegetables are very reasonable, especially if you are buying them in season. If you are not buying fruits/veggies/whole grains, what are people buying? "Junk food" costs money too and is not always less expensive than "healthier" options. Instead of buying soda,cookies,chips, etc. you could be buying other things. Yesterday at Publix I purchased two tomatoes ($0.98), 2 ears of corn ($0.71), a pint of strawberries ($2.50), and 8 oz of mushrooms ($1.69). For whole grains, brown rice and oatmeal are two reasonable options, especially if you are buying the store brand. You are doing a wonderful job Sara and prove that you can eat healthy on a strict budget if you make the EFFORT. Anyone who states otherwise is just unaware of how to do so and could use some tips from you!

      In reference to someone saying people sell there WIC for cash. Here in Florida you can not sell your WIC checks to anyone else for cash. They have your signature on them and you have to show your ID at the store.

      June 15, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
  7. Mollie

    The expensive fruits & veggies are usually those that are out of season. Learning what types of fruits & veggies are in season when you go shopping is a easy way to cut costs. Also, if you find a great price on something fresh or you have grown an abundance, you can alway blanch and freeze the extra.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • madisoncnn

      Great tip, Mollie. I want to compile all the great advice people have been posting for an article/blog soon. Thanks for your input.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • cat

      The "in season" rule works well in southern or western states when there are harvests year round, but not so much up here in the northeast where I've seen snow in 9 out of 12 months. The growing season is shorter, so much of the harvest I grow is frozen as soon as I pick it. This works well for veggies, but not so much for fruit. I've got a few food allergies, and I gave up all dairy and grains a few years ago, which means living off just certain proteins (no beef or pork), veggies, fruits and nuts. I try to keep the fruits affordable, but 8 ounces of blueberries cost $3.50 to $4.00 in December. None of the winter fruits that are "in season" are actually in season for my region. And living off applies or pears for 5 months at a time isn't nutritionally balanced, either.

      June 14, 2011 at 18:50 | Report abuse |
  8. yummy

    You do not need the grains at all. All of your few carbohydrate needs are met with fruit and vegetables. For too long we have been following the low fat myth. We eat way too many carbs. As for fiber, that is what the vegetables are for. Check your low fat food for all the hidden sugars and sodium. Processed foods are a major problem. We need to get away from them period.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trainer Mike

      Agreed! Where is the fat on MyPlate? The say it falls under protein from nuts....really? Nuts are primarily fat. We're still living in the No Fat 80s....

      June 14, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • Liutgard

      It is not carbs that are the problem. It is *processed* carbs that are the problem. There's a vast difference between a serving of mac and cheese, and a serving of brown rice. And yes, we are meant to eat grains. If not, Mother Nature erred greatly in giving us teeth for grinding them.

      June 15, 2011 at 07:52 | Report abuse |
  9. stephanie

    What difference does any of this make? We are all going to die someday of something- if you aren't totally stroked out by high cholesterol and heart disease, your brain is dissolving from Alzheimer's, or you're eaten up with cancer, or you get hit by a truck.
    The Lord gives, the Lord takes away and the doctor and undertaker get the fees.

    June 14, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Displeased

      Do you want to increase your chances of living a short life or a long life? How many unhealthy old people do you see? Of course, if you don't want to live to be old, then it doesn't matter.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
    • G Stenson

      The difference is taking a conscious step to help prevent potential diseases and cancers that can be caused by poor diet.

      June 14, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • Trainer Mike

      Ah...the Lord. The refuge of the uneducated. Come on! Surely you have to think about quality of life here. Wouldn't you rather be a fit, healthy 50 year old person than an obese, over-medicated one? Nutrition is the largest component of longevity. No, the MyPlate idea isn't particularly great, but you're a grown person, you can make your own decisions as to what you put in your mouth.

      Since you're all about God, check out the Maker's Diet. Could help....

      June 14, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
  10. Esteban

    This is very much a possibility within budget, if you're single....

    Eat three servings of fruit for breakfast, lots of energy, vitamins readily absorbed, and total cost is about 2.50 for breakfast. That's $3 cheaper than a value meal at McDonald's. For lunch, I eat 2 servings of broccoli or another green leafy, string cheese, and a bowl of flax cereal with blueberries. Total cost per meal, about $3.50.

    For dinner make a pasta dish with lots of vegetables, or my favorite, Jambalaya, which is loaded with ham and sausage, as well as celery, onion, garlic, green peppers, anaheim peppers, tomatoes and rice. I get about 5 servings for $20. That's $4/meal.

    My total food cost per day is around $9-10. Weekly cost would be around $70. I'm hitting all my servings of vegetables, grains, and dairy while shrinking my protein intake. The result has been a better waistline, increased energy, and increased stamina. Food is fuel. Fast food is like pouring sugar into a gas tank.

    June 14, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. jenni

    it is the american way to eat sweets and fats,no my plate or whatever is going to stop people to get dollar menu from mc donalds or getting 2 sneakers for a dollar,u can get a bag of frozen vegetables at walmart ,value brand from over a dollar but there will be always an excuse for not eating healthy or excersice,that is why this is the country with more obesity in the planet,u eat like crap but is cheap,but u will spend a lot of time and money at the doctor with your diabetes and high blood pressure,is it worthy?i don't get it

    June 14, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. P Smith

    2. Spend only $61.27 the entire week. - On #2 check your math, you did it wrong. $6,372/52/2.5 = $49.02, try spending that much to get healthy food for a week. Not possible. Unless you eat Ramen for 3-4 meals. Your budget for your experiment is off by 24.99%, let's just round up to 25% error margin. Sorry but this is inconclusive.

    June 14, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jesswhat

      No they are right, 6372.00$ / 52 weeks = ~122 divided by two people its apporximately 61.27$

      June 14, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      This is a faulty assumption. I cook whatever I want, very healthy, and do all of the shopping. Spend on average maybe $90 a week on groceries for my wife, myself, and a baby, but that includes things like cleaners, soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, and other things that I buy at the "grocery" store. Buy mostly name brands, tend to watch sales but not clip coupons. Key is being able to cook a diverse range of things and therefore can make something good almost every week by focusing on good prices. This is not nearly so hard as people keep making this out to be!

      June 14, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • BNS

      Jesswhat, they should have divided by 2.5, as the average household was 2.5 persons. P Smith is right. Considering my household is 4 people, I don't have $196/wk to spend on groceries, so the whole thing doesn't work for families.

      June 14, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      BNS, then cut back somewhere else. Or is you and your family's health not worth it?

      June 14, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      I spend roughly $50/week for myself and my son and we eat a very healthy, well-balanced diet. It's possible to not spend a fortune, depending on your diet. We're not huge meat eaters but I buy extra when it's on sale. We eat seasonal fruits and veggies, don't buy a lot of prepackaged food (except things for bag lunches due to school rules), and don't buy a lot that doesn't get eaten.

      June 14, 2011 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
  13. jesswhat

    they rounded the 2.5 down because half a person doesnt make sense, and you dont round up on a .5 unless it makes an even number
    *the more you knoooowww*

    June 14, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BNS

      Then call it $12,744 for 5 people per year. If that helps you envision whole people... still comes out to $49.01 per person per week.

      June 14, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Newo

      I'm assuming the .5 is because kids eat less than adults???

      June 14, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
  14. Timi

    In general, I like the plate model very much. It seems such an easy way to convey the essential without muddling it up. However, my first knee-jerk reaction was where do potatoes belong to in this model? Next, I found myself wondering how "protein" will be interpreted in American households. Most of all, I have difficulty with the compartment labeled "grain".

    The reason for my disorientation comes from my experience with the Finnish plate model, which I find extremely easy to grasp. The Finnish model places fruit and whole-grain bread on the side of the plate, together with milk. The plate itself has the left half reserved for vegetables, whereas the right half has two equally sized quarters. One of them is labeled "potatoes, rice, pasta, etc." (corn is not listed because it is rather rare on Finnish plates), and the other is labeled "meat, fish, etc." What these actually mean are carbohydrates and protein, but those words are not used as labels. Instead, the labels are chosen from a vocabulary that opens up the intention in layman terms, and ensures that the starch-rich veggies don't get counted as veggies. The Finnish model may be over-emphasizing potatoes over grain, but the cultural differences aside, I think the Finnish model is easier to interpret than the American model. I don't think this difference ruins the American model, though. The plate model is a great improvement, I have no doubt about that.

    I had been following the Finnish model for years before I learned about it for the first time, so I can't say it is difficult to follow, not in Finland anyway. Besides, it wasn't for health reasons that I had ended up composing my meals that way – I originally chose it for purely culinary reasons. Big thanks to being able to fulfill my culinary preferences in a healthy way goes to the restaurant that provides the lunch services at my work place. Their salad bar servings are sooo delicious.

    June 14, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trainer Mike

      You are correct in saying the "grains" portion is confusing. As was posted previously, all fruits and vegetables are not created equal. You can eat a bunch of white potatoes along with your pasta and a piece of bread and you've got yourself a plate full of starch and fast carbs...that will make you fat. The more color the better! I don't eat anything that's white...just milk.

      June 14, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      Oh yes, the sequel (sort of, but not rllaey). It's 1511H (Kombat). I find 1515 better, though.Tehrani makes history so interesting. Studying in the States, I miss all the Malay novels. I usually alternate between Malay and English novels, but now it's hard to do that. I find it embarrassing that I haven't read A. Samad Said's Salina. It's as classic as To Kill a Mockingbird, how can I be 21 and still haven't read that magnum opus?

      March 5, 2012 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  15. Pittsburgh Kid

    Try doing this if you're getting unemployment (232/wk) and $100 month in food stamps. It can't be done and pay the rest of the bills as well.

    June 14, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. mikoid

    Rhinana works for the Dairy Council...

    June 14, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Jan

    The thought is good, but not a realistic one for families. This is tough for families with a regular income, I am not even going to address the cost for low income families, because food stamps does not come close to the monthly cost.

    I have a family of 5. Following your cost, I would spend $306.35 a week which is $1225.40 a month, and $14704.80 a year. Considering the median income in my state for a single earner home is $32,131 (according to the US Census Bureau). That is almost 1/2 of the total yearly income, just for food.

    I am a 2 income household and I spend about $500 a month in groceries AND household products (I do one stop shopping), although with the high gas prices and rising costs of grocery items, I have been having to back on the groceries and household products. I try to feed my family healthy food and grow a garden to supplement, but not everyone can do that. Even though we make more than most median income families in my state, I could not afford to spend almost 15k a year on food. We don't eat fast food except occasionally. This is just not doable for middle class or low income families.

    My typical plate is a small portion of meat, 1 or 2 vegetable sides, and maybe some rice, couscous, or other type of grain. We do ALL whole grains and brown riice. We are eating heart healthy because of a family history of heart disease. I try to stay away from processed foods, but we do eat processed foods like hotdogs, pizza, and canned foods a few times a month.

    It is HARD and EXPENSIVE to feed a large family appropriately.

    June 14, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Cole

    Come on... A challenge implies something difficult.

    Today, I've had:
    2 servings of dairy
    4 protein
    4 grain
    8 vegetable
    5 fruit

    All but 2 items came to below $0.50 per serving (With most being under $0.25). The 2 items were an energy bar (about $0.80) and salmon (about $5). These 2 items accounted for over 50% of the day's total cost. If I actually put in the effort, I can cut them out along with other cost reductions. For example, part of the grain I had was wild rice; although it was still cheap at cents per serving, it's still about triple the price of regular rice. I can keep the salmon, but could have used canned, which would make it under a $1 per serving. The fresh produces used were mostly those in season, so were already cheap, but I can lower it more by limiting the variety.

    Not possible for mid/low incomes? Bull. Just another lame excuse, no different from those that don't exercise. $100 a month for one? It's been done. Rice, beans, and pasta are cheap, as are frozen and canned vegetables. Protein can increase the money, but even that can be stretched; $5 can get a pound of beef or about 2 of chicken. The Internet if full of $ challenges where people got along fine spending cents per meal.

    June 14, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kristen

    I must have missed the memo that said I should feel sorry for parents who produced more children than they can afford to feed. However, this is not my problem. Feed yourself and your family healthy, nutritious food or you will see the unfortunate side effects. That being said, perhaps you should all just keep on doing what your doing, Mr. Darwin had a theory about people like you....

    June 14, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. WOW

    First I think shame on all of you that have talked about people having large families and struggling to feed them. I am shocked at how self centered you are. The economy has impacted everyone and NO ONE should be put down because they are seeking help from Food Stamps. By the Grace of God go I. Sara I applaude your efforts.

    Second. As stated above. The MyPlate is a guideline. If you have allergies, swap something that is of the same value

    Lastly; with the internet and so many Food Programs there isn't any excuse to not learn to cook healthy on a budget. If you go to your internet search page and type in Healthy Budget Recipes you will be surprised how many are returned.

    Be Kind to each other.

    June 14, 2011 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Kate

    I don't agree with the plate and I don't find it helpful. The plate suggests eating a large serving of grains and I think people actually need very little grain. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm basing my opinion on my life experiences. Also I doubt that most people would choose the healthy grain options that are available. And if they follow the recommendation of the portion size on the plate they could eat more bread, etc. thinking it's healthy to do so when it's not. And why didn't the creators of the plate get a little more specific. For instance they should have added the word "whole" in front of grains. Not all grains are created equal and highly processed grains are junk foods that contribute heavily to obesity. Also many people are lactose intolerant so I don't agree that milk is a healthy for adults.

    June 15, 2011 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liutgard

      "I don't agree with the plate and I don't find it helpful... I'm not a nutritionist."

      The first is explained by the last.

      June 15, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
  22. bonnyjoplin

    Companies give out samples of their products all the time, it's a very effective marketing strategy. Best place online is "123 Samples" find online

    June 15, 2011 at 05:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. wayne

    The plate is pathetic. Follow the recommendations and a middle age person will become obese, develope heart problems and diabetes within four years. Like most things with out government they are incompetent.

    June 15, 2011 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. WellnessDrive

    I try but find it difficult to always eat like this. Hence the reason for Natural Supplements to take care of the things we miss.

    I drink my vitamins. This way you absorb 95% within 5 minutes instead of tablets. Then you'll feel better even if you don't eat "MyPlate" every time. :)

    June 15, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. fatashellandproud

    Damn I want some McDonalds

    now!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      12. Plant a garden, even if it on your blacony, and include food plants.13. Begin a journal, if you do not already keep one, even if you only write in it occasionally.

      March 4, 2012 at 03:12 | Report abuse |
  26. Mollie

    @cat, I also live in the northeast with short growing season. You can freeze fruits as well and they are great to eat frozen or defrosted. Oranges are in season in the winter months and you can also get fruits and veggies in the frozen areas in the grocery store for great prices. It is definitely harder when there is 3 feet of snow on the ground to not want comforting foods. Vegetable soups and stews are good for this time of year.

    June 15, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MAB

    I believe this is an overall suggestion of how people should think about eating, not an exact or set in stone. Obviously, different people have different nutritional needs in which you should find the best way for you to get you need nutritionally. Either by way of research or a doctors guidence. Obesity is not a result of not knowing what to eat, it is a result of not applying that knowledge.

    June 15, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Wastrel

    The government is not concerned about your health. It is responding to the insurance companies that make bigger profits if there are fewer claims, but never lower premiums. I say the four basic food groups are caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and aspirin, and I take that MyPlate and spin it on the end of my you-know-what and you will die someday just as I will.

    June 15, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. John

    I'm alot happier with my plan. I lost alot of weight this way. Frozen foods and Baking. Hit Samsclub or costco. A large bag of frozen chicken breasts, or fish, occasionally steaks. Bake them up for an hour. Bake 6 at a time if you want. Get a bag of frozen veggies, frozen mix, etc. Get some apples, quarter and core them. The apple has the carbs, the veggies have the nutrients, the chicken has the protein, nothing has the junk. Portion out, and even be generous. Done? Oh, and i'm not using oil or Pam or other nasties. I'll leave it to you if you think ingesting rancid imported oils that have perfume (go ahead and smell them, then check your wife's cabinet, you'll see) will make you healthier. I vote no.

    June 16, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Food News Staff

    http://foodnewsupdate.blogspot.com

    Daily news source for all things food.

    June 20, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Anamika

    Step out of your usual way of getting your hair oeolurcd/cut and try something different. As well, try new clothing styles play and have fun and be open to styles outside of your usual comfort zone.Find ways to add more laughter into your life on a regular basis – lighten up, be silly, have fun!Remember to step out of yourself and see how things might be if you were the other person you were dealing with.Commit random acts of kindness. Try to get a stranger to smile or laugh.

    March 4, 2012 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.