My Plate – Make it Your Own

This is USDA’s MyPlate, which replaces MyPyramid. By now, if you haven’t heard about the change you must be living under a rock. The plate method is nothing new to myself and other dietitians so we are excited, for the most part, to see the change. There are a few things that could be clarified, one of those being personlization. Therefore, when I ran across this article “How to Make MyPlare You Own,” I knew I had to share.
How to Make MyPlate Your Own
By Hana A. Feeney, MS, RD, CSSD
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has replaced MyPyramid with MyPlate ( This plate was designed to simplify complex nutrition messages and provide the general public with a basic idea of how to improve their daily food choices by presenting food groups on a plate.
USDA’s MyPlate
As seen above, “Vegetables” refers to all vegetables and legumes including beans and lentils; “Fruit” includes all fruits; “Grains” includes intact grains like oatmeal or brown rice and grain products such as breads, pasta and crackers; “Protein” includes fish, chicken, meat, legumes, nuts, and eggs; “Dairy” includes milk, yogurt and cheese.
Dietitians have been using plates for years to portray balanced food choices for clients. However, dietitians are able to personalize a plate for an individual to fit their clients’ lifestyle. What if you are in a heavy training phase or trying to lose weight? What if you have diabetes or prefer a vegetarian diet? How would that change the balance of foods on YOUR plate? How would your lifestyle and health concerns impact your food choices?
While this article isn’t the same as a personal consultation, here are some general plates that I recommend for different groups of people, starting with some changes that I’d make to MyPlate for all of us.

A Better Way to Categorize Foods
The USDA’s “Vegetables” group needs reorganization.
The USDA has grouped all vegetables, including starchy vegetables, beans and lentils, into one group. While this may simplify things a bit, it’s not nutritionally appropriate. The “vegetables” group should be non-starchy vegetables only. This would include lettuce, greens, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, etc., all vegetables except starchy vegetables and beans and lentils. Starchy vegetables, including all varieties of potatoes, winter squash, and corn, along with all beans and lentils should move over to the “Grains” side of the plate.

Let “Fruit” accompany your meal and expand the Non-Starchy Vegetable section.
Filling only a quarter of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, as pictured by the USDA, will leave you short on ever-important fiber and antioxidants. Fill half of your plate with tasty, crunchy and colorful non-starchy veggies and add fruit to your meal as a side or a dessert.

Grains should be “Whole Grains”.
The USDA recommends that half our grains be whole. However, this advice leaves us eating a significant amount of empty calories in refined grain breads, pastas, crackers and cereals. An emphasis on making all grains choices whole is more appropriate and certainly doable for most of us. These 100 percent whole grain foods are widely available and their tastes and textures have greatly improved during the past five years. This whole grain reference includes all 100 percent whole grain breads, crackers and pastas, and even better choices, intact whole grains, such as old-fashioned oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth.

Get rid of the dairy group and consider those foods a part of the “Protein” category.
We don’t need dairy foods with every meal as the USDA suggests. We can get the nutrients from dairy in a variety of other foods. Dairy foods provide significant amounts of protein and minerals, and are more appropriately categorized with Proteins.
Therefore, from a nutritionist’s perspective speaking from an evidenced base practice, I believe the plates could accommodate specific needs like this:

General MyPlate

Vegetarian or Vegan Plate

You must consider legumes (including whole soy), nuts and seeds and dairy (if included) as your “Protein” category.

Type 2 Diabetes or Insulin Resistance Plate

You should consider milk and yogurt with the other higher carbohydrate foods on the whole grain and starchy veggie side of the plate. Consider milk and yogurt as options with whole grains, beans, lentils and starchy vegetables. Cheese is still a part of the “Protein” group.

High Volume Endurance Training

You need more carbohydrate overall. To accomplish this, reduce the proportion of vegetable and protein foods on your plate and increase whole grains, starchy vegetables and beans and lentils.

Weight Loss

To reduce portion size, choose a slightly smaller plate and eat proportionately more fish, poultry and eggs than whole grains, beans, lentils and starchy vegetables.

Be Flexible
These plates demonstrate how flexible your diet can, and should, be. There is no perfect way of eating and your diet should change as your lifestyle changes. Eating well is all about balancing your nutritional needs to meet your athletic and health goals. Using an image of a plate helps with basic meal planning and understanding the general concepts of balance. For your specific athletic and health goals there is much to learn about your body, your food choices and your nutritional needs in order to reach your personal goals.

New site coming soon!!!!

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Clean Energy Bars

Clean Energy Bar

my fellow crossfitter, Katie, found this on
(makes 12 or 24)

1/2 cup nut butter
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup whole nuts (choose your favorite)
1 ½ cup total of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, apricots, raisins, coconut, etc.)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor, coarsely chop nuts and dried fruits. Mix nut butter and bananas until a paste forms. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spoon into lightly greased muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes. Can be stored in refrigerator for 5 days.

For one granola bite (12 in recipe) = 190 calories, 8.4 g fat, 26.7 g carbohydrates, 5.4 g protein, 3.1 g fiber

Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good

Natural Energy Bars

The “bar” aisle at the grocery store can be daunting…all those flavors, brands, ingredients, and claims.


Hopefully this article from will help clear up some of that confusion:



You may run across a familiar name within the article 🙂
Here is another great article:




Until next time…


look good, feel good, do good


Appetite for Health

Today I share a much appreciated post from my fellow RD’s, Julie Upton and Katherine Brooking from Appetite for Health. They are two inspiring dietitians who do a fabulous job at spreading the word about health, nutrition, and fitness. They truly have an “appetite for health.

As the tri season and road race season approaches enjoy the article on Eating for Endurance.

Until next time…

look good, feel good, do good

How to Choose the Right Energy Bar

How to Choose the Right Energy Bar

this is a great article from, pictured are some of my favorite go-to bars
by Selene Yeager
We spend more than $1.5 billion each year on food bars—carbohydrate, protein, meal-replacement, even gender-specific. Is the dough being spent a huge waste, or worse, creating huge waists? “The problem is, people don’t count the calories they’re taking in and will eat an energy bar or a recovery bar or both, then eat a meal on top of it,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, coauthor of The Ultimate Diet Log. “Bars have their place,” she says. “But you have to consider what kind of rider you are and what you want the bar to accomplish.”
This guide outlines different bar types and how they can help, or hurt, you.
BAR: Energy (AKA Carbohydrate)
THE BASICS: The most crowded category in sports foods—it grew nearly 24 percent in 2004 alone. Easily digestible and specially formulated to deliver a big hit of carbs (about 40 grams—70 percent—of the bar’s calories).

PURPOSE: Provides a steady stream of carbohydrates during your workout so you don’t bonk. After your workout, such bars can replenish the glycogen that you’ve spent.

LOOK FOR: A high carbohydrate count and fewer than 2 grams of fiber. Your best choice is one that contains B vitamins, which are needed in combination with carbs for optimal performance.

WATCH OUT FOR: Too many calories—energy bars can pack 350 or more. Unrecognizable ingredients, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol or maltitol, which are hard to digest and can cause stomach discomfort.

BAR: Recovery (AKA Protein)
THE BASICS: High in muscle-building protein, these bars are marketed as much to the Gold’s Gym bench-pressing crowd as to pedal-pushing cyclists looking for post ride and post-training recovery.

PURPOSE: Helps usher carbs back into your muscles after a hard ride, and provides amino acids to rebuild your muscles. These supplements work quickly so your body begins recovery immediately.

LOOK FOR: Quality protein in the form of whey, milk and soy. There is much debate over which is best, but many bars contain a blend, which may help deliver the benefits of each.

WATCH OUT FOR: Again, too many calories—some as many as 500. These bars are essentially a small meal—one can have as much protein as 3 ounces of chicken and as many carbs as a cup of brown rice.

BAR: Women’s
THE BASICS: Usually containing ingredients purportedly good for a woman’s general health—calcium, folic acid, iron, soy protein. Generally lower in calories and often the go-to choice for skinny male cyclists.

PURPOSE: Provide women (as well as smaller riders) with the vitamins and minerals they need, in a low-calorie, reasonable portion.

LOOK FOR: Bars with fewer than 200 calories. Or minibars-half-size versions of popular bars—which usually go down in 2 or 3 bites and serve up about 100 calories.

WATCH OUT FOR: Packaging waste. Unless you need the extra calcium, iron or other women-specific nutrients, you can simply cut your regular energy bars in half.

BAR: Meal Replacement
THE BASICS: These “miscellaneous” bars, whether it’s because of their carb count, protein content or marketing, don’t fall into other categories.

PURPOSE: An easy way to get carbs, protein, fat and calories in one convenient package. Some people use them as a prepackaged meal and a way to prevent mindless overeating.

LOOK FOR: Natural ingredients. Bars made from grains and fruits do a better job of simulating the nuances of a meal, including antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

WATCH OUT FOR: Relying too heavily on them. Bars are a great way to fit in a meal on the go, but real food offers more variety, a wider range of nutrients and antioxidants, and will tend to be more satiating.

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good

Product Review – Real Coconut Water

Taste of Nirvana
Coconut Water
Healthified Gatorade as I like to call it; coconut water is the newest craze in the health/sports world. So what’s the scoop? Coconut water contains 5 essential electrolytes: potassium,magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. These nutrients are key players in rehydrating our tired and dehydrated bodies during and after sweaty, endurance work. An athlete will appreciate the prevention of muscle cramping and aid in recovery. You typically can find the same electrolytes in your commercial sports drinks as well as added sugars, dyes, and ingredients…..YUM!
Some other brands include: Zico, O.N.E.
The flavor of the water is….different. Sometimes I enjoy straight up and other times I find it to be a tasty addition to my protein/fruit smoothies after a sweaty bout of exercise.
Price varies: around 1-3 dollars/drink
Nutrient facts for 1 bottle (9.5fl0z):
Calories 50
Fat: 0g
Sodium: 42mg
Potassium: 600mg
Carbs: 10g
Sugar: 9g (no added)
Protein: 1g
magnesium 9%
calcium 4%
vit C: 6%
iron 2%
Ingredients: natural coconut water

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good