Archive for October, 2011

Spending FoodDay Teaching MyPlate

I was honored to be able to spend today, Food Day, teaching “How to Build a Healthy MyPlate” to a group of elementary kids from Haycock Elementary School in my local neighborhood of Falls Church, VA.  Food Day is a nationwide grassroots effort that strives to support healthy and sustainable eating.  What better way to support this message than to through nutrition education with our local youth.  I was greeted by about 30 enthusiastic kids in Haycock’s after school child care program.  They crowded in front of my food display and were eager to learn.  I wanted the kids to know why eating healthy is important for them.  Eating healthy foods helps them to:

  • Have energy to run and play
  • Grow strong muscles
  • Build strong bones
  • Feed their brains to stay sharp

“Who likes to eat vegetables?”  Most of the room raises their hand.

“Who can can help me name some foods that are fruits? vegetables? grains? protein? dairy?”  The kids don’t miss a beat.  They throw out answers as if we’ve been practicing all day.  I even get corrected by a student who reminds me that tomatoes are technically a fruit since they have seeds.

We walk through all the components of MyPlate 

  • 1/4 Fruits – bananas, berries, oranges, apples, pineapple, grapes
  • 1/4 Vegetables – peppers, spinach, carrots, onions, squash
  • 1/4 Protein – beans, shrimp, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, tofu
  • 1/4 Grains – preferably whole grains, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa
  • 1 serving of low-fat dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt

They pass with flying MyPlate colors.  It’s time to step up my game.  I mention that MyPlate doesn’t always have to look so nice and neat.  What if we took each MyPlate group and mixed them all together? In one bowl we mix together:

  • 2 cups canned drained diced tomatoes (Fruit/Vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion (Vegetable)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mandarin orange segments (Fruit)
  • 1.5 cup cooked whole-wheat couscous (Grain)
  • 1 can black beans (Protein)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese (Dairy)
For zest and flavor:
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Serve with a handful of multigrain Tostitos and Viola!  Carla’s MyPlate Salsa!   I was so impressed with how adventurous the kids were.  They lined up to get their taste and I heard so many compliments that I was beaming from ear to ear.  I didn’t even have leftovers to bring back home.  Everyone thought it was delicious, but don’t take my word for it – try it at home with your family!  Happy FOOD DAY!
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October 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm 1 comment


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