JEFF TIEDEMAN: What's on your plateDon’t forget about dairy products.
Have you seen the new “My Plate” symbol?
It’s the fresh guide to healthy eating recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace the food pyramid, which first was introduced in 1992, with detailed descriptions of recommended foods and portion sizes.
The new food plate icon — its aim to simplify healthy eating advice — depicts proportional wedges of grains, fruits, vegetables and protein on a plate. Gone are the old pyramid’s references to sugars, fats or oils. And what was once a category called “meat and beans” is now simply “proteins,” which can include seafood and vegetarian options such as tofu.
If you’ve had a chance to see the symbol (www.choosemyplate.gov/index.html), you will notice that next to the plate is a blue circle for dairy. And while it’s fairly small in size compared with the sections representing the other food groups, people shouldn’t underestimate the importance of dairy products in their diets.
“Dairy is important for people of all ages, especially for young people because they are still growing and developing bones,” said Donna Bernhardt, Grand Forks County Extension agent and licensed registered dietitian.
The new guidelines recommend 2 cups of dairy products daily for children 3 and younger, 2½ cups for children up to age 8 and 3 cups for everyone else. (In general, 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the dairy group. Additionally, 1 cup of soy milk counts as 1 cup.)
An easy way to get three servings of dairy daily is to drink milk at all meals, something Bernhardt highly recommends. “If people did that, they could cover most of their calcium needs.” (Milk is the single-greatest source of calcium — as well as vitamin D and potassium — in the American diet.)
Speaking of milk, I’ll be at the Valley Dairy at 4701 S. Washington St. from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the “Got Your Mustache?” contest.
Sponsored by Cass Clay and Valley Dairy, the festivities — which are free and open to the public — also will include a “Minute to Win It” Oreo cookie contest with both Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown and East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss, a tattoo booth, coloring tables, drawings for $100 and a year’s supply of Cass Clay ice cream and, of course, the mustache contest, whose four winners each will receive a new bike.
The event sounds like a great way for parents and grandparents to set a good example — and to see how you look in a mustache.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.