The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage most Americans to eat fewer calories, be more active and make healthier food choices. MyPlate is a part of a large initiative based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices. MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Pulses are increasingly being recognized for their role in promoting good health. Researchers have reported that regular consumption of pulses may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Pulses are a versatile, easy-to-prepare ingredient that can be used in entrees, salads, breads and desserts.
Because of pulses high nutrient content, consuming peas, lentils and chickpeas is recommended for everyone. Pulses can count either toward the “Vegetable Group” recommendation or toward the “Meat & Beans Group” recommendation.
Vegetable Group: Vary your veggies. The Guidelines and MyPlate use 5 vegetable subgroups to encourage variety and healthier food choices. Pulses are a part of the Legume subgroup. The guidelines recommend eating more pulses, such as, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. Adults consuming 1,800 to 2,400 calories daily should eat 1 ½ cups, or 3 servings, ½ cup per serving, each week.
Meat and Bean Group: Vary your protein routine: eat lean or low-fat. Choose more pulses. One-half cup cooked peas, lentils and chickpeas is a two-ounce serving of protein. Adults who eat 1,600 to 2,000 calorie diets should eat 5 to 5 ½ ounces of the lean meat and pulse group daily. Pulses are naturally low-fat.
The Dietary Guidelines are depicted on the www.choosemyplate.gov website, where you can print a daily food guide.
The amount of food you need from each food group varies depending on your age, gender and physical activity.
· Healthier diets dictate a change in ingredients. But whether you’re trying to satisfy an adventurous palate or match familiar expectations of taste and texture, pulses can help meet the challenge of better nutrition.
· Children require more protein than adults because of their rapid growth. Each day, a one-year old child needs about 15 grams (two cups) of protein, such as beans, milk, cheese, tofu, fish, poultry and lean meats. Combination foods such as grains (bread, pasta, rice) with beans, lentils, avocados, cheeses or tofu will provide the balance needed for vegetarian babies.