POMEROY – Everything changes, and just a year ago the Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, made considerable changes in the percentages of different food groups to be used as a guide for daily food choices.
The Food Pyramid, which has been the recommended guide to food choices for years, was replaced by “My Plate.”
Influencing the change was the obesity not only in the adult population, but in children, both pre-school and in school. The pyramid was heavy on bread, cereal, rice and pasta calling for 6 to 11 servings a day, and somewhat lighter on fruits and vegetables, recommending three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit. The plate changes the ratio of different types of foods for a better balanced meal.
For example what is described as the “Great Plate for Kids” consists of one-half vegetables and fruit, plus one-fourth whole grains, and one-fourth lean protein.
Childhood obesity has become a major concern in Meigs County schools, and changes are being made in school lunch menus along with snack foods available in an effort to address the problem.
Recently the Ohio Department of Education changed requirements for what can and what cannot be served in school lunch programs and snacks in the schools. A focus on fitness has been stressed by ODE not only by changing how and what children eat, but by exercising on a regular basis.
Linda King, family nutrition program assistant with the Meigs County Extension Office, participated recently in the free health care program held at the Mulberry Community Center. There she displayed the new “My Plate” guide on food choices and discussed how that influences the well being of children and adults.
She stressed the importance of “ filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and making at least half of the cereals, breads, crackers, rice and pasta consumed whole grain, switching to skim milk, and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.