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Focusing on MyPlate

When it comes to eating a variety of foods and maintaining balance within your diet, MyPlate is an essential tool that can help you transform your meals and snacks. The USDA published MyPlate, which outlines the 5 major food groups, with each category offering its own nutrition recommendations.
We’ll break down each food group together and review the major nutrition messages that can help you be successful when choosing the most nutritious foods for you and your family.


First we’ll start with the fruit group, which is labeled in red. As you can see this food group makes up just less than 1/4 of your plate. The big message here is that the fruit group pairs right next to the vegetable group, filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. We all know that fruits are healthy for us, but specifically this food group is a major powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Keep in mind these helpful tips when choosing fruits in your meals and snacks:

  •  Choose whole fruits most often

For example, if you have the option, choose a whole peach over canned peaches in syrup or pick a fresh apple instead of sweetened applesauce.

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables

This key message is shared with the vegetable group. To maximize the vitamins and minerals in your meal or snack, ensure that half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. For example, you may have an orange on the side of your leftover vegetable casserole or you may have a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a side of baby carrots for lunch. Whatever the meal may be, check in to see if you’ve included fruits and vegetables as half of the meal.


Next up is the vegetable group! This green group in the MyPlate image fills up slightly more than 1/4 of the plate. This is another rock star nutrition category loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Keep in mind these helpful tips when choosing vegetables in your meals and snacks:

  • Choose whole vegetables most often

Just like the fruit group, choose the least processed vegetables as possible. For example, choose fresh or frozen plain broccoli in place of frozen cheesy broccoli. Another idea would be to choose a baked potato on the side of your meal instead of potato chips.

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables

Just like the fruit category, check in to see if half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Vegetables can be a separate item on your plate, intertwined in a casserole, layered in a sandwich, or be the basis of your snack. Add vegetables to stir fry, pasta, sandwiches and wraps, muffins, or as a side dish.


Grains seem to be a hot topic today, but this is an important food group we shouldn’t discount. Grain foods are loaded with carbohydrates that fuel the body with energy. Check out the following tips to help you choose the most nutritious grains:

  • Make half of your grains whole grains

What’s a whole grain? A whole grain is a grain that contains all 3 parts of the grain (the germ, endosperm, and bran). Whole grains are less refined and processed, so they typically offer more fiber and protein. Grains such as 100% whole wheat bread are considered to be a whole grain, while white wheat bread is an example of a non-whole grain food.  Just a few examples of other whole grains include quinoa, 100% whole wheat pasta, farro, barley, brown rice, kamut, bulgur, popcorn, and oatmeal.

  • Have grain foods make up about 1/4 of your plate

Looking at the MyPlate image really helps us to see the amount of grains we need in comparison to the other food groups. Keep this in mind when you’re meal prepping or following your Nuleeu meal plan.


Protein foods are important not only for the protein they deliver, but the additional nutrients loaded in the variety of foods in this category.  Protein foods not only include meat, poultry, and fish, but also nuts, soy, seeds, eggs, and beans. Keep in mind these helpful tips when choosing protein foods in your meals and snacks:

  • Choose lean proteins

Vary your lean proteins by choosing items such as beans, tofu, at least 92% lean beef, and skinless poultry.

  • Choose low sodium protein foods

When you’re meal planning for example, choose whole turkey breasts in place of deli turkey slices or choose unsalted nuts instead of salted varieties to limit the sodium content of your food.

  • Have protein foods make up just less than 1/4 of your plate

Protein foods only need to fill about 1/4 of your plate. This will come as a surprise to many of us since we usually have our protein at the center of our plate in the largest portion. Surprisingly, your current protein portions may be enough protein for you all day! Keep in mind that nutritional needs vary from person to person and a Nuleeu Registered Dietitian can meet with you to review your specific needs and make individual recommendations and meal plans just for you.


Dairy foods are incorporated in our meals and snacks to help us meet a variety of our vitamin and mineral needs. Dairy foods include cow’s milk, yogurt, and cheese, but also non-dairy fortified beverages and foods such as soy or almond milks and yogurts. All of these products can offer important minerals such a calcium and phosphorus for bone health, while other dairy foods provide protein and other vitamins and minerals. Check out the following tip to help you choose the most nutritious dairy foods:

  • Choose low fat dairy products

When we incorporate dairy foods, we want to choose fat free or low fat products most often to help limit the amount of saturated fat in the food. Plant-based alternative products are a great nutrient-rich alternative to dairy products, but be sure to check the saturated fat content of these products as well. For example, many coconut yogurts contain a high amount of saturated fat.

There you have it! That completes our tour through the 5 food groups of MyPlate and the many nutrition messages this guide offers. MyPlate is excellent because it can be used and applied to not only meals, but also snacks. Although the MyPlate image depicts separation between foods on the plate, this guide can be applied to complex mixed dishes, sandwiches, smoothies, and snacks. How have you incorporated MyPlate into your meals and snacks? We’d love to hear from you!

-Elizabeth Fay, MS, RDN, CNSC


  1. All about the Dairy Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 14 Dec. 2018,
  2. All About the Fruit Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 4 Jan. 2018,
  3. All about the Grains Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 3 Nov. 2017,
  4. All about the Protein Foods Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 10 Aug. 2018,
  5. All about the Vegetable Group.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 4 Jan. 2018,
  6. MyPlate Graphic Resources.” Choose MyPlate, USDA, 3 Dec. 2018,

Egg Protein Pops

By: Anne Kristine Etherton, MS, RDN, LDN, NASM-CPT

In an attempt to do meal prep for the week, I took a try and creating some easy morning eggs. The idea came because my daughter loved the popular chain Egg Bites, but since I don’t want to spend tons of money, I attempted to create an acceptable substitution. Also, I am limiting my shopping and trying to use what’s in the fridge and freezer. If this wasn’t the case I would have thrown in some onion and peppers, but instead used what I had in the house.  Side note- so looking forward to having fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden next year!

So I started with the egg base and then chose to use sour cream since that was the only cream option in the fridge to give the creamy texture of the pops. Also, used a hand blender to get the sour cream and eggs blended till smooth.

Spray the muffin tin to help with removal after cooking- if you’re like me, you’ll forget this step- which is okay because in a nonstick pan they still came out relatively easy!

I filled each to about 3/4 full because adding the other ingredients would add more volume. Then sprinkled cheese to each serving, using about 1/2 of the cup. Here is where you can also add in the other ingredients you chose to include. I had some deli ham, we use the low sodium preservative free kind, and then to about half of the pops I added a few of the frozen black beans and chick peas. I did not add any salt or other seasoning to this batch, the cheese and ham were providing salt and I was trying to keep to the basics, but next time I will be adding in some other seasoning to spice it up a bit- I’m thinking maybe a chipotle version.

I then put them in the oven for about 20 minutes- watching closely- when they were close to being done I sprinkled the last amount of cheese on top.

While the benefit of making food at home is having more knowledge and control of what’s included, the initial intent was to make something simple and tasty for a quick morning breakfast. It just so happened to be a good option to keep my morning within my daily nutrition goals.

For 12 servings of 2 pops

8 eggs

1/2 cup sour-cream

3/4 cup of shredded cheese

1oz of deli ham (or other protein)

About 1/4 cup of frozen black beans and chick peas ( or any other vegetable of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin pan and set aside. Blend together eggs and sour-cream until smooth, divide into sprayed muffin tins evenly( filling about 3/4th full). Using about 1/2 cup of the cheese, add small amount to each serving. Small cube ham or other pre-cooked protein and add small amount to each serving, add a few beans and peas to each serving. If you have selected alternative fresh vegetables, I recommend finely chopping and possibly sautéing prior to adding to the egg mixture for better taste since the egg bites only take about 20 minutes to cook.  Bake for about 15 minutes and then add the remaining cheese to the top of the egg pops. Once they are cooked through, you can use a toothpick to test them, remove and enjoy immediately or refrigerate and enjoy for up to 3 days.

Serve with your choice of bread, fruit and several other possible options to have a balanced and compete breakfast or snack!

This can easily be a gluten free option by checking that the added meats and vegetables are gluten free.



Why See A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

So, you’re a little lost and overwhelmed by the amount of nutrition resources out and about this time of year. With New Year’s Resolutions soaring and hopefully not soon to dwindle, you may be in search for the best you. Maybe that’s the happiest you, the most fit you, the healthiest you, or the most balanced you. Perhaps you’re about to focus on your cholesterol, weight, meal planning, diabetes, kidney health, cooking skills, energy, inflammation, digestive health, emotional relationship with food, allergies, or any other nutrition goals. Where should you begin?

There are many people today offering nutrition advice and recommendations. It’s so easy to get confused and overwhelmed! Some of these people call themselves health coaches, nutritionists, or nutrition experts, but the only qualified professionals who focus on nutrition with an extensive undergraduate education, competitively complete a 1200-hour residency internship, and successfully pass the national exam are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). Many RDNs further their education through additional graduate studies or residency internships and earn specialized certifications above and beyond the requirements of an RDN. The tricky thing to remember is that all Registered Dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. Check out this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic on the qualifications of an RDN.

It is proven that working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist improves the success of patients and clients to achieve results. RDNs make evidence-based, personalized nutrition recommendations to meet individual health goals. These trained professionals implement nutrition changes that are safe and effective. RDNs also take into account individual needs and preferences, while applying years of research to practice. You will find RDNs work in a variety of settings including private practices, hospitals, clinics, fitness centers, restaurants, nursing homes, wellness companies, universities and colleges, grocery stores, research centers, food companies, and many more establishments. They also work with a range of populations including neonates and infants, adolescents, adults, and older adults.

How do you know that you are receiving the most updated information? Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are trained with extensive years of foundational nutrition experience. Fortunately, RDNs are also required to maintain licensure and master their knowledge about the latest nutrition research to be on top of their career.

So, you’ve decided to work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Where do you find an RDN? Nuleeu is your one stop shop to find a skillful RDN who will help you meet your nutrition needs. Nuleeu Registered Dietitian Nutritionists have years of professional experience in the clinical healthcare, community, fitness, and private practice settings. Nuleeu is not only made up of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, but it couples its programs together with other professionals such as yoga instructors and Certified Personal Trainers. Talk about an all-inclusive program to help you meet your needs! Check out the Nuleeu programs to discover which program is best for you with a free initial consultation.

-Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CNSC


1. Kohn, Jill. “Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., 30 Nov. 2017,

2. “Work Settings and Areas of Expertise for RDNs.” EatrightPRO – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,