The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created MyPlate, an easy-to-follow food guide, to help parents to figure out how to feed their kids nutritious, balanced meals. The colorful divided plate includes sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and foods high in protein. It’s an improvement upon the complex and confusing MyPyramid that the USDA once used to explain its dietary guidelines. The colorful divided plate includes sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein foods. Just by looking at MyPlate, you know right away that vegetables and fruits should take up half the plate and grains and protein foods each take up about a quarter of the plate. And with a side helping of dairy, you’re reminded to include milk or another dairy food (like cheese or yogurt) in your daily meal plan. But you might be wondering: Do I have to serve all the food groups at each meal? Do I really have to give my kids veggies for breakfast?

After all, it might be hard enough to get them to eat them at lunch or dinner. If breakfast or lunch doesn’t include a veggie or fruit, give them at snack time. Use the plate as a guide to planning and serving a variety of healthy foods. The goal is to think of the plate as an entire day’s worth of eating: So, throughout the day, try to make half of what your kids eat vegetables and fruits, and the other half grains and protein foods. An occasional treat is fine, but be careful to limit foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. If you’re thinking it might be difficult to get your kids to take a bite off this new plate, practice what you preach. MyPlate is not just for kids, but for adults too. Kids who see their parents eating better are more likely to do so themselves.

The vegetable portion of MyPlate, in green, is one of the largest portions on the plate. Vegetables have many of the vitamins and minerals kids need for good health, are naturally low in calories, and contain fiber. For best nutrition, serve a variety of vegetables to your family each week. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned veggies. Fruits are an important part of a balanced diet. They contain necessary nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. When buying canned fruit, choose fruit that is packed in juice rather than heavy or light syrup. And it’s best to serve whole fruit over 100% fruit juice. Fruit juices have more sugar and calories with less fiber per serving than whole fruit. The grain group includes any food made from wheat, oats, cornmeal, barley, or other grain. Bread, tortillas, cereal, rice, and pasta belong in this group. At least half of the grains kids eat each day should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. Whole grains have dietary fiber that helps you feel full and can prevent and treat constipation.

  • Ask for printed brochures that define the health care services they offer as well as their costs
  • Teach families about the effects of illness on a child’s growth and development
  • Take “active” vacations—go hiking or ride bicycles
  • Specialize in and manage chronic illnesses

Eating a diet rich in whole grains also might decrease the chances of getting heart disease and diabetes. Refined grains, like white bread and white rice, are processed, removing many of the nutrients. Most refined grains are enriched, which means that nutrients, except fiber, are added back after processing. Foods that are high in protein help the body build and maintain the tissues of the body. They also have important vitamins and minerals, like iron. Protein-rich foods include beef, poultry, seafood, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Soy products like tofu and veggie burgers are also good sources of protein. When eating meats, choose lean or low-fat options. This group includes milk and other dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese. Calcium-fortified soy milk is also included in the dairy group. Besides calcium, dairy products have vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Foods made from milk, like butter, cream, and cream cheese, don’t have much calcium, and are not part of the dairy group. Serve low-fat or nonfat milk and dairy products to kids over 2 years old. MyPlate is as a guide for healthy eating. Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your child’s eating habits.

Your doctor can tell you if prescription weight-loss medicines might be helpful for you. Prescription weight-loss medicines generally work in 2 ways. Most work in your body to make you less hungry or feel full faster. One FDA-approved medicine works in your digestive tract. It blocks the amount of fat your body can absorb. Some medicines are approved only for a short period of time, usually no more than 12 weeks. Others can be used long-term. The following are medicines currently approved by the FDA for weight loss. Also included is information on how they work, common side effects, and warnings for each. Warnings: can reduce the amount of certain vitamins that your body can absorb. Orlistat is also available in a lower dose without a prescription. That over-the-counter medicine is called Alli. Orlistat is the only medicine of its kind to be approved in the U.S. The following medicines make you feel less hungry or full faster.

They share common side effects, including constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and nausea. Additional side effects are listed for each medicine. Warnings: Don’t use if you have untreated high blood pressure, seizures, or a history of anorexia or bulimia. Don’t use if you are dependent on opioid pain medicines or are withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. Don’t use if you are already taking bupropion (brand names Wellbutrin, Zyban). This medicine could increase suicidal thoughts or actions. Warnings: Tell your doctor if you have had a heart attack, stroke, abnormal heart rhythm, kidney disease, or mood disorder. Do not take if you have hyperthyroidism or glaucoma. This medicine could cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Warnings: available only by injection. Could increase the chance of developing pancreatitis. There are other medicines that can reduce your desire to eat. These medicines are only FDA-approved to be used short-term, up to 12 weeks. They have some side effects, too.


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