ARLINGTON, Va. -- Eat more of this, less of that. Carbs are good. Carbs are bad. Eating right and maintaining or getting down to a healthy weight can be confusing, but a visit to www.choosemyplate.gov can help, said Beth Triner, dietician at Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
“The goal of eating is to fuel our bodies,” she said.
Choosemyplate.gov is turning two years old and uses United States Department of Agriculture guidelines to assist people in making healthy food choices.
“Every five years, per congressional mandate, they have to review those dietary guidelines,” explained Triner. “The last revision was done in 2010 and published in 2011.”
The visual of Choosemyplate.gov replaced the old food pyramid, she continued.
“When people think of the plate, traditionally it was the meat,” said Triner. “You might have a starch, you might have a vegetable. We all know that’s not the healthiest way to eat. It’s about getting a variety of everything. The pyramid didn’t show that.”
The site allows users to develop individual food plans tailored to their health and weight goals, and also has a special section for kids called “my kid’s plate.” A new section on the site, called “my plate on campus,” promotes healthy eating for young adults on college campuses. The site also allows you to enter the amount of physical activity you’ve done in a day.
“Studies show when people pay attention to their food choices, they make better food choices,” said Triner.
The my food tracker portion of the site allows you to enter what you’ve eaten throughout the day so you can see the number of calories you’ve consumed, as well as your total amount of sodium and sugars.
“It’s the total calories you consume in a day that makes the difference [in whether you’ll gain or lose weight],” said Triner.
Part of healthy eating is knowing what foods to buy, and Triner said when you head to your favorite food store to buy groceries, to stay in the perimeter and avoid the aisles.
“That’s more the processed foods. When I say processed foods, I’m thinking about noodle mixes, canned meats, which can have very high sodium,” she said.
If you’d like to consult with Triner, a doctor’s referral is not necessary. Call Rader’s appointment line at 855-227-6331 or Triner directly at 703-696-7930 to set up an appointment.
Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff Writer