• 59°

HAYLEY COWELL COLUMN: Finding ingredients for MyPlate

Currently, we are doing our best to stay at home as much as possible while still providing for our families by getting their essential needs.

One very important need is food.

Hayley Cowell

Since many families are cooking more at home right now, we need healthy and affordable recipes now more than ever.

But it isn’t as simple as planning your recipes and making a list — because we are finding that some of the items on our shopping list are impossible to find at the grocery stores.

Also, with as much traffic that can be in the grocery stores, we don’t want to spend a lot of time walking around in there trying to find what to eat for the next week.

With that said, I have found that the best way to go about shopping while getting a variety of foods to keep your household healthy is to think about MyPlate.

MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future.

This means:

• Focus on variety, amount and nutrition.

• Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.

• Focus on getting foods daily from each of our five food groups including: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.

• Include healthy fats/oils in your dietary intake as well.

Create Your Own MyPlate Meal Plan Using the Tips Below:

• Focus on whole fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned or dried.

• Choose a variety of colorful fresh, frozen and canned vegetables — make sure to include dark green, red and orange choices.

• Find whole-grain foods by reading the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list.

• Mix up your protein foods to include seafood, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products, eggs, and lean meats and poultry.

• Choose fat-free milk, yogurt, and soy beverages (soy milk) to cut back on your saturated fat.

Lastly, do the best you can to get a variety and to get foods from all of our food groups but try not to stress.

If you can’t find something, there are still lots of options. Get creative and try something new.

For more information on MyPlate see www.choosemyplate.gov.

Hayley Cowell is the family and consumer sciences extension agent with the Stanly County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension. Email hnapier@ncat.edu.