Elisa Zied’s Plate for National Nutrition Month

I had breakfast over the course of two hours today. I woke up and while dressing had a low-fat organic chocolate milk box. Then I made breakfast for my family which consisted of a cheese omelet (made with 4 eggs and 4 ounces of shredded organic cheddar cheese and cooked with nonfat cooking spray); instant oatmeal (1 packet, for me only, made with one teaspoon vegetable oil spread); and 1 cup of cut up strawberries and pineapple (I had the fruit late morning, after I dropped my younger off at school).

I tend to divide up breakfast over a few hours. I get full if I eat too much at once, but always need a nice-sized breakfast to get me going. I always wake up starving, and try to get a balanced meal that includes low fat dairy, whole grains (usually ready-to-eat, high fiber whole grain cereal or oatmeal or whole grain toast) and some protein (egg, peanut butter, or a small handful of nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans or pistachios)–this gets my day started on a healthy eating track. I never skip breakfast and especially enjoy the time I have to connect with my sons first thing in the morning.

I feel the best and have the most energy when I choose more healthful, nutritious foods. Even though some may not think flavored milk–which is essentially milk and a cookie–is not the most healthful choice because of the added sugar in the milk, I so look forward to drinking the chocolate milk and know it helps me get the calcium and vitamin D as well as protein, potassium and so many other key nutrients that keep me healthy. To make up for the added sugar, I make sure to limit it the rest of the day to keep calories in check and get the most nutritional bang for the buck in my diet.

I support MyPlate as a tool for consumers to choose more healthful meals. I don’t think one needs to consume food from each food category at each meal, but the point is to choose most of your foods from the most healthful food groups–whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein foods, and dairy foods–in their lowest fat and lowest added sugar form throughout the day when you eat. You can cover three food groups at one meal, and then at snack time choose the other food groups represented in the plate.

Fueling up at breakfast is so critical for me–especially as I am training to walk the More/Fitness Half Marathon in April 2024. The better I fuel myself, the more energy I have–especially for my increasingly longer weekly walk. Selecting healthful, nutritious foods really makes a difference in how I perform and how I feel both mentally and physically. I always tell clients and consumers that when you make healthier choices, you’ll feel better–and when you feel better, that’s reinforcement to continue to make more healthful choices.

~Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” focusing on MyPlate. We invited nutrition and fitness professionals to share their typical plate to give you a glimpse of how some of the healthiest people in the country eat on a daily basis. See the series.

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