Eat right with the colors of MyPyramid during National Nutrition Month

Isanti County Public Health

March is National Nutrition Month, and everyone is encouraged to “Eat Right with Color.”

“One way to incorporate color into a healthy eating plan is to include the colors of MyPyramid,” said Barb Anderson, Registered Dietitian with lsanti County WIC Coordinator.

MyPyramid was developed by the US Department of Agriculture and emphasizes an individual approach to improving diet and lifestyle. Each color represents the recommended proportion of each food group and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices from each group every day. Here are some tips to help you incorporate all the colors of MyPyramid into your daily food plan:

Grains (Orange) – It’s important to make at least half of your daily grains whole grains. Better yet, try to eat at least three 1-ounce servings of whole grains each day (whole grain bread for sandwiches, oat or whole-wheat cereal at breakfast, brown rice instead of white). Make sure labels say “100 percent whole grain) and ingredients say “whole” before the grain listed,

Vegetables (Green) – “Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and other nutrients, and it is recommended that adults eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day,” Anderson said. Try crunchy veggies instead of chips with your favorite dip or low-fat salad dressing. Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat or fat-free cheese. Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful veggies, add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soy beans) and top with low-fat dressing. Drinking 100 percent vegetable juice counts too.

Fruits (Red) – Fruit is great for a snack and can really satisfy a sweet tooth. Eating two cups per day can be very easy. Slice fruit into cereal or on top of whole-grain waffles or pancakes. Add orange slices or strawberries to spinach salad or grapes to a mixed green salad. Try sliced bananas, berries or peaches to non-fat yogurt or as topping for angel food cake. Dried fruit is a handy snack, but be mindful of serving sizes. Juice counts toward your recommended daily amount of fruit, but only if it is 100 percent fruit juice (no additives like sugar and flavorings).

Oils (Yellow) – Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature and include canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower and sesame oils. While there are a major source of vitamin E, oils contain about 120 calories per tablespoon, so keep portions in mind.

Milk (Blue) – We need calcium for bone health, and many dairy foods are good sources of protein, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A and D. Besides milk, other calcium-rich options are low-fat cheese and low-fat yogurt. Cream cheese, cream and butter are not considered part of this group.

Meat and Beans (Purple) – This is the protein group and includes a wide variety of foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts and seeds. Choose leans cuts of meat and try broiling, grilling, roasting and stir-frying. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of heart disease and may help reduce inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.

Visit the American Dietetic Association Web site at for recipes and tips to help you “Eat Right with Colors.”