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By: Mark Benak. My Plate. 9 th -12 th grade Health class. T ips for better nutrition. Add more vegetables to your day. Focus on fruits. Make half your grains whole. Eat and drink more fat-free or low-fat dairy foods. Variety of proteins. Less salt and sodium.

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By: Mark Benak

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By: Mark Benak

My Plate

9th-12th grade Health class

Tips for better nutrition

  • Add more vegetables to your day.

  • Focus on fruits.

  • Make half your grains whole.

  • Eat and drink more fat-free or low-fat dairy foods.

  • Variety of proteins.

  • Less salt and sodium.

  • Make better beverage choices.

  • Build a healthy meal.

Add more vegetables

  • Provides necessary vitamins and minerals.

  • Most are low in calories.

How to add more vegetables

  • 1. Discover fast ways to cook- cook fresh or frozen vegetables in a microwave for a quick and easy dish to add to a meal.

  • 2. Be ahead of the game- cut up your favorite vegetable and have them ready in a bag to eat when time is limited or enjoy your cut up vegetables on a salad.

  • 3. While you’re out- When ordering, ask for a side dish of vegetables or a side salad instead of the typical fried side dish.

  • 4. Try something new- Choose a new vegetable to try. You never know what you may like.

Focus on fruits

  • People who eat more fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

  • Fruits provide nutrients vital for health, such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C.

  • Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as a part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.

How to add more fruits

  • Keep visible reminders- Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the counter, table, or in the refrigerator.

  • Include fruit with breakfast- Top your cereal or yogurt with bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Drink 100%juice.

  • Snack on fruits- Dried fruits make great snacks. They are easy to carry and store well.

Make half your grains whole

  • People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

  • Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples.

How to make half your grains whole

  • Make simple switches- Eat whole wheat bread or bagels instead of white.

  • Brown rice instead of white rice.

  • Whole-wheat pasta.

  • Whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy foods

  • Dairy group- milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soymilk.

  • They provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein, and other nutrients needed for good health throughout life.

Fat-free or low fat dairy

  • Skim the fat- Drink skim or 1% milk.

  • Cheese choices- Look for reduced-fat or low-fat on labels.

  • Beware of sweeter choices-Flavored milk, fruit yogurts, frozen yogurt all have added sugar that are not needed.

Variety of proteins

  • Include animal (meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs)

  • Plant (beans, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds) sources.

How to have a variety of proteins

  • Experiment- Try different protein dishes.

  • Adding to dishes- Add beans, peas, nuts, or seafood to dishes.

  • Have an egg- Add an egg a day.

Less salt and sodium

  • Salt plays a role in high blood pressure.

  • Sodium intake for 1 day should be 2,300 milligrams or 1 teaspoon of salt.

How to reduce salt and sodium intake

  • Think fresh- Most sodium is found in processed foods. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.

  • Vegetables and Fruits- Eat more vegetables and fruits because they are naturally low in sodium.

  • Read the label- Read the nutrition labels on foods to pick ones low in sodium.

How to reduce salt and sodium intake

  • Pay attention to condiments- soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings, and seasoning packets are high in sodium.

  • Boost potassium intake- may help to lower blood pressure. Potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice, beans, and bananas.

Make better beverage choices

  • What you drink is just as important as what you eat.

How to make better beverage choices

  • Drink water- soda, energy, or sports drinks contain a lot of sugar which provides more calories than needed.

  • Easy access- make water, low-fat or fat-free milk, and 100% juice an easy option in your home.

  • Dairy- Drink low-fat or fat-free milk. Each milk offers the same vitamins and nutrients but the calories go up when you drink 2% milk or whole milk.

How to make better beverage choices

  • Water on the go- Have a clean reusable bottle to keep filling up with water to sip on throughout the day.

  • Check the facts- Read nutrition labels at the grocery when buying beverages. Check for total sugars, fats, and calories.

Build a healthy meal

  • Think about how you can adjust the portions on your plate to get more of what you need without too many calories.

How to build a healthy meal

  • Make half your plate veggies and fruits- They contain nutrients and help promote good health. They are also low in calories.

  • Add lean protein- Choose lean beef, chicken, turkey, beans, or tofu. Make seafood twice a week on your plate.

  • Include whole grains- At least half your grains should be whole. Look for 100% whole grain foods.

How to build a healthy meal

  • Don’t forget the dairy- Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk.

  • Avoid extra fat- Avoid heavy gravies or sauces.


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