Skip to main content

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
Jun 03, 2019
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