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MyPlate Inspires Healthful Eating

Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USDA blog

We know that a healthy nation starts with healthy people. A good diet helps kids stay active and focused at school. And staying healthy can increase your productivity on the job.

But sometimes families who want to make healthier eating choices are confused by conflicting messages, or don’t have time to do the research.

That’s why, earlier this year, I launched a new, easy to understand food icon, called MyPlate. It’s a clear and simple visual showing what a healthy meal looks like on your plate.

And now, USDA is launching our first message to accompany MyPlate – “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”

Today, most Americans don’t consume the recommended amount or variety of these important foods. But by joining with partners – like grocery stores, schools and health professionals – to promote the simple MyPlate message, USDA wants to help raise a healthier generation by reminding kids and parents to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.

And right now, you can help spread the word by entering a contest with cash prizes that we call the MyPlate Fruits and Veggies Video Challenge. To enter, create a short, 30-second video showing how you build a healthy plate with fruits and veggies on a budget. Share your tips, tricks, and how-tos to inspire fellow Americans to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Do you have a great recipe? Do you grow your own in a garden? Tell us about it. We’re looking for easy, affordable and practical ideas. For information on the challenge, go to MyPlate.gov.

And what’s more – our efforts to help folks choose healthier diets will pay dividends for American agriculture. Sales of American-grown fruits and vegetables are worth more than $33 billion annually and support tens of thousands of jobs.

Recently, I went to California to meet with some of the folks growing those healthy foods. I toured a facility that helps a family-owned farm ship more than 40,000 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables directly to consumers each month. In the past year alone, this company has nearly doubled their workforce.

I know that across the country, farm operations of all sizes will benefit as Americans choose farm-grown produce and healthier lifestyles. And by helping families grow strong by reminding them to ‘make half their plate fruits and vegetables,’ we can encourage healthy eating that is a win-win for the public and the American farmer.