MyPlate Meals: A Simple and Healthy Meal Planning Guide


What is the MyPlate Food Plan?

The MyPlate meal plan is a visual guide to healthy eating based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It helps you create a balanced meal plate that provides essential nutrients and reduces the risk of nutrition-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Here are the key recommendations for a balanced food plate:

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, focusing on whole fruits and a variety of veggies.
  • Make half your grains whole grains.
  • Include a variety of protein sources in your meals.
  • Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt, or alternatives like calcium-fortified soy milk.
  • Limit added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium in your diet.

MyPlate meals are flexible and can be customized to accommodate different dietary preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets.

How to Create a MyPlate Meal

Creating a MyPlate meal is simple. The amount of each food group on your plate may vary depending on factors like age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.

MyPlate Food Groups

The MyPlate food guide includes five food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy (and calcium-fortified soy)

To determine the daily targets for each food group, you can refer to the MyPlate guidelines based on your calorie intake. For example, a 2000 calorie diet may include:

  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 2 ½ cups of vegetables
  • 6 ounces of grains
  • 5 ½ ounces of protein
  • 3 cups of dairy
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Now, let’s break down the components of a MyPlate meal:

  • Protein: Include 4-6 ounces of protein, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Non-starchy Vegetables: Choose three different veggies and enjoy as much as you want. Remember, some vegetables are technically classified as fruits.
  • Dairy (or Calcium Alternative): Add 1 ounce of cheese for calcium. You can also use dairy milk or yogurt as alternatives.
  • Grains: Include 1 serving (such as whole grain crackers) or skip this component if desired.
  • Dip: Enhance the flavor of your veggies with a 2-4 tablespoon serving of a dip, which can be a source of healthy fats.

MyPlate Meal Example

Here’s an example of a MyPlate meal:

  • 4 ounces of seasoned shrimp
  • Snap peas, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots (filling half the plate)
  • 1-2 ounces of whole grain crackers
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese
  • 2-4 tablespoons of yogurt-based dip with blue cheese flavor

This meal offers a combination of protein, veggies, dairy, grains, and a tasty dip. It’s a finger-food feast that kids will love, and it covers all the essential food groups.

Feel free to customize your MyPlate meals according to your preferences, dietary needs, and household members’ preferences. It’s an adaptable and flexible approach to healthy eating.

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

If you’re looking to support fat loss, you can easily create a low-calorie, high-volume MyPlate dinner. Here’s a suggested breakdown:

  • 4 ounces of lean protein (~150 calories)
  • Three non-starchy veggies (under 50 calories)
  • 1 ounce of cheese (~120 calories, or use a low-fat alternative)
  • One serving of crackers (~100-150 calories) or skip this component
  • 2-4 tablespoons of a light dip or dressing (~50-100 calories)
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This modified MyPlate meal can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Additionally, there’s a variation called the macro diet plate that emphasizes limiting grains and starchy veggies to one-fourth of the plate.

Remember, you can always adjust the portion sizes and ingredients according to your energy needs and preferences. The MyPlate meal plan is customizable and suitable for everyone.


MyPlate Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Recipes

Looking for more MyPlate recipe ideas? Here are some delicious options for every meal of the day!

What Meal Has All 5 Food Groups?

Salads often contain all five food groups. If your salad is missing grains, simply add a side of bread or crackers. Some soups and casseroles can also include all five food groups, though you may need to add a fruit side dish.

With MyPlate meals, the possibilities are endless. Mix and match the ideas outlined above to create perfectly delicious and balanced dishes.


Discover a variety of healthy and tasty recipes on the Hook’d Up Bar and Grill website. From appetizers to entrees and desserts, you’ll find something for every occasion.

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The Disclaimer…

Please note that all recipes on this website may not be suitable for everyone. It’s important to consult with a registered dietitian or physician to determine the dietary pattern that best suits your needs.

The nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary based on specific brands and ingredients used. Don’t get too caught up in calorie numbers, as they can be misleading on food labels.

For more guidance on how different recipe levels can support your weight management goals, refer to our overnight oats no sugar post. Let’s get cooking!

Images: @lovefoodart