Skip to content

    USDA MyPlate: The Importance of a Balanced Plate

    In honor of National Farm to School Month, let’s learn the importance of supporting adequate nutrition and balanced plates.

    USDA stresses the importance of having a balanced plate through the MyPlate program. Proper nutrition is important for many reasons throughout all stages of life. In the early stages, proper nutrition is essential for healthy development and in the later stages, proper nutrition is important for maintaining health/improving quality of life. Let's wrap up National School Lunch Week by talking about the importance of proper nutrition. 


    Certain foods provide essential nutrients that help us strengthen and maintain our bodies.



    Fruit provides us with nutrients like potassium which aids in healthy blood pressure, fiber which can lower the risk of heart disease and can reduce blood cholesterol levels, vitamin c and folate which are important for growth and repair of body tissue.



    Vegetables also provide us with potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C and provide similar benefits as fruit.



    Whole grains provide us with dietary fiber and B vitamins, which contribute to healthy metabolism.



    Protein provides us with protein which is the building block for muscles, B vitamins which help build tissue and aid in forming red blood cells, and magnesium which helps support muscle function.



    Dairy provides us with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium. These contribute to a variety of things, but in general dairy supports developing bone health in children and maintains bone health in adults.


    It is important to note that calories and portion size will depend on a variety of factors, including age, sex, height, weight, and activity level. To see your personalized portion sizes and calories you can create your own MyPlate Plan, but as a general rule your plate should look something like the below…




    Ultimately, it is important to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition at any age. A balanced plate provides you with easy ways to meet your daily essential nutrient intake and support developing, or maintaining, a healthy body. A great way to get fresh fruits, veggies, meat, and dairy products is from your local farmer or farmers market. If this is unattainable, then of course you can get these at your local grocery store! MyPlate has some excellent resources on budget friendly meals that check all the nutrition boxes.

     Read About National Farm to School Month