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Lunchtime: Small Changes - Healthy Rewards

Posted by Lisa Bente, RD, Nutritionist, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Food and Nutrition
Jan 17, 2017
MyPlate New Year's Challenge Week 3 graphic
Welcome to Week 3 of the #MyPlateChallenge!

Welcome to Week 3 of our 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Last week we focused on the Fruits Food Group and healthy solutions for breakfast. There are still three weeks remaining in the Challenge and it isn’t too late to join – sign up today and invite others to participate with you. This week, we will focus on the Vegetables Food Group and how small changes during lunch can help add more vegetables to your day.  The winner of the Week 3 challenge will be announced on Monday, January 23rd, so make sure you check in to see if you secured the top spot!

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Adding vegetables to your meals can help you feel full with fewer calories. Also, higher intakes of vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. When shopping for frozen or canned vegetables, use the label to look for vegetables without added sauces, gravies, butter, or cream and for “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” or “no salt added” options. Choosing a variety of vegetables throughout your day (and week) will provide you with a range of nutrients. And remember to make time for physical activity!

Lunchtime is a perfect opportunity to include more vegetables in your day and help you earn points in the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge. For example, instead of having a bag of chips with a sandwich, try a side of baby carrots which are just as crunchy but lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Another tip is to add extra vegetables next time you make a soup or stew for dinner, and save a portion for lunch the next day. Packing your lunch is not only a timesaver on busy days; it’s also a cost saver over purchasing lunch on the go.

Check out our video for more ideas to Make Small Changes at Lunch:

MyPlate has several resources to help you make small changes that add up to long-term solutions for healthy eating, such as USDA’s recipe website, What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, and our new Make Small Changes webpage that provides healthy eating solutions for every meal. Check out our tips for adding vegetables to your days well as those for eating at an Italian restaurant, in the dining hall, or at a potluck. And remember to share your own tips and real solutions for healthy eating in 2017 using #MyPlateMyWins.

For more healthy eating tips and resources, visit, follow MyPlate on Facebook and Twitter, join or use SuperTracker, and sign up for email updates.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition