Two Takes on the New Plate

Have you heard of the great new way to estimate your nutritional needs? No, it's not a crazy diet plan or magic pill. All it involves is using a simple dinner plate. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which includes using your plate to estimate serving sizes.

Anyone can use the MyPlate method when eating. First, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Second, you want half of the grains you consume throughout the day to be whole grains. Whole grain foods include whole wheat bread and tortillas, brown rice and popcorn. Third, you want to switch to consuming low-fat (1%) or skim milk, if you are not already doing so.

Use the following recommendations to guide your choices: ¼ of the plate for fruits
¼ of the plate for vegetables
¼ of the plate for lean protein ¼ of the plate for grains, preferably whole grains 1 cup of low-fat or skim milk

It is important to balance your calories by enjoying your food, but eating less. Also, avoid oversized portions by putting modest amounts of food on your plate. If you are still hungry you can always return for seconds! For more information, visit .

Rachel Wall and Noelia Rivera-Gonzalez are dietetic interns at The Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt. Rachel grew up on a farm outside Iowa City, Iowa and attended Iowa State University. She received her Master's degree in Dietetics and Exercise Science. Noelia grew up in Puerto Rico and received her Master's degree in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.

Below are two examples of how you can fill your plate to meet the MyPlate recommendations. It is ok if your plate looks different from your friends'. MyPlate is about variety!

Rachel's Plate:
Fruits: ½ cup fresh strawberries
Vegetables: ½ ear of sweet corn
Grains: 1 slice whole wheat bread
Protein: 3 ounces of pork loin (size of a deck of cards) Dairy: 1 cup skim milk

Noelia's Plate:
Fruits: ½ cup plantains
Vegetables/Grains: 1 cup rice & beans
Protein: 3 ounces of pork
Dairy: 1 cup skim milk

Check out these recipes. They are an easy fit to your "Healthy Table."

Alta's Whole Wheat Bread

Yield: 2 ½ loaves

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
½ cup warm water with 1 package of yeast 2 ¼ cups water with ½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup shortening

Mix flours. Add in warm water and yeast, mix. Add in water and brown sugar mixture, stir. Add in salt and shortening, mix. Knead for five minutes. If dough is sticky while kneading, add ½ - ¾ cup white flour. Then put dough into greased bread pans. Cover and rise until dough has doubled in size. Gently punch down dough and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Source: Anita Wall

Arroz con Gandules
2 cups rice (rinsed)
4 to 5 cups of hot water
½ cup sofrito
16 ounce can of gandules
2 tablespoons of alcaparrado (capers and olives, mixed together) 1 packet of sazon with achiote
1 can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of oil
Salt to taste

In a medium-sized cast iron cooking pot add the oil, tomato sauce, alcaparrado, sofrito and sazon. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add all other ingredients and enough water to cover the rice by 1". Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat. Once the water has been mostly absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top - once or twice only. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.