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Let’s Celebrate Eight and Start Simple with MyPlate

Posted by Mary Herrup, RD, Nutritionist, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition
Jul 29, 2021
Happy Birthday to MyPlate graphic
Happy 8th Birthday to MyPlate!

Happy Birthday, MyPlate! Eight years ago, MyPlate was introduced as a symbol of the five food groups that serve as the building blocks for healthy eating. This year, we are encouraged to Start Simple with MyPlate, which provides healthy inspiration and tips that are easily incorporated into busy lives and fit personal preferences, health goals, style, and budget. Learn more and join in the #MyPlateChallenge at:

In honor of MyPlate’s 8th birthday, we are excited to celebrate with nutrition education gifts for you. The staff here at the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) have come together to provide 8 ways we Start Simple with MyPlate. We hope you enjoy these real-life ideas from our CNPP family:

  1. Making dinner after long workdays can seem like a chore. As a time saver, I always wash and cut my vegetables, as well as marinate my favorite protein foods right when I get home from the grocery store. That way, I’m one-step ahead. (Erica, Nutritionist)
  2. With 3 young kids and a variety of activities, snacks have become a necessity when we leave the house. I portion healthy foods into small containers the night before so that they're ready to grab–n–go when we need them. (Corey, Nutritionist)
  3. I’m a huge sports fan and enjoy fresh veggies when I watch games. Grape tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, and baby carrots are virtually prep-free and help me meet my vegetable goals, even on game day. (Lisa, Nutritionist)
  4. Sometimes making balanced meals with all food groups for one person is not easy. To help, I make large batches of dinners such as protein foods (pork loin), grains (wild rice), vegetables (roasted zucchini) and fruit (baked apples). Then, I portion my own “meal kits” for easy “planned over” dinners served with a glass of milk. (Barb, Nutritionist)
  5. Now that my kids are grown, I no longer have a grocery list of “favorites” but still like to have a variety of produce. This is easy as ABC -- Apples, Bananas, and Carrots. I always have these on hand for quick and easy snacks. (Janie, Graphic Information Specialist)
  6. As an avid traveler, I pack a cooler of sandwiches, water, and healthy snacks for road trips. This avoids the need (or temptation) to stop on the road which helps make sure I eat something healthy and saves money. (Dave, Nutritionist)
  7. My boyfriend and I love trying new restaurants on the weekends. We focus on ordering heathy foods cooked in new ways. This gets us inspired with different ideas when eating in. (Hannah, Visual Designer)
  8. Every Wednesday, after work I ride my bike to the farmers market down the street. In addition to picking up tasty, local produce I get to fit in some physical activity too. (Melissa, Nutritionist)

Ready for the next step to Start Simple with MyPlate? We encourage you to check out the MyPlate Plan at The MyPlate Plan is an interactive tool to get your personalized food group targets within your calorie allowance. It’s quick and simple to use – just enter your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level to get your plan. If you have a blog or website, feel free to add our MyPlate Plan Widget to your page and help spread the word.

Together, let’s Start Simple with MyPlate and take on healthy eating one step at a time. For more information, visit, follow @MyPlate on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and sign up for MyPlate email updates at Be sure to use hashtag #StartSimplewithMyPlate to share your simple tips and join the conversation.

Get Your MyPlate Plan graphic
Get your personalized food group targets with the MyPlate Plan.
Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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nancy Mosna
Jun 04, 2019

great addition to all My Plate Tips , HAPPY BIRTHDAY :)

Anne Rogan
Jun 04, 2019

Happy Birthday to MyPlate- Can you restore the supertracker feature?

Ben Weaver
Jun 05, 2019

@Anne Rogan - thank you for your comment. At this time, there are no plans to bring back SuperTracker. You can use the MyPlate Plan to find the calorie level that is right for you based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Print or download a corresponding MyPlate Plan PDF to use in tracking your food choices. This checklist shows what and how much to eat from the foods groups within your specific calorie allowance.

There are also a variety of websites and mobile apps available for tracking your food, activity, and weight. We recommend an Internet search to find the tool that is right for you.

Yvonne Passavant Deming
Jun 04, 2019

Hello, I use MyPlate extensively with my Health and Wellness Coaching clients to teach nutrition, many of whom are living below the poverty line. I was looking for the promised "gift" so that I could perhaps encourage each of them to apply for one, but have looked through and can not find any way for us to receive the promised "gift" in honor of MyPlate's 8th birthday!

Ben Weaver
Jun 04, 2019

@Yvonne - thank you for your comment. The gifts in question are the 8 ways we Start Simple with MyPlate. Please visit the blog to view these ideas from our CNPP team.

Diane Amenta Lombardi
Jun 04, 2019

I would like free handouts for adults and older adults that can't exercise as much do to mobility issues diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We have a support group and offer ideas and information about health and well when we meet monthly.

I am a registered dietitian and if I get free handouts, I can share and explain for better understanding and use.

thanks in advance, Diane A Lombardi, RDN, CDN

Ben Weaver
Jun 05, 2019

@Diane Amenta Lombardi - thank you for your comment. While we do not have handouts for specific medical conditions, the website includes a number of printable materials which are available as downloadable PDFs. These materials are in the public domain and therefore no permission is needed to print, reproduce, or use them. Visit to browse these materials.

Patsy White
Jun 04, 2019

Happy Birthday My Plate. Thank you for all your nutritional recipes and ideas. I would like to obtain another portion plate, because mine was accidentally damaged. How do I go about ordering a new one?

Ben Weaver
Jun 05, 2019

@Patsy White - thank you for your comment. USDA CNPP does not provide any physical plates. We recommend an Internet search for such products.

Deborah Lopez
Jun 05, 2019

i simply love this site, the recipes and helpful eating tips and listening to others members testimony is wonderful

Shawn Idell, RDN
Jun 06, 2019

Happy birthday MyPlate! I love this site and recommend it to all my clients.