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Mom’s find benefits to MyPlate

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MyPlate becoming a winner with mom’s where healthy eating is concerned

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By now most American’s have heart of MyPyramid, launched in 2005 by the USDA. In June 2001, the USDA replaced MyPyramid with MyPlate. MyPlate illustrates the five food group’s colorful quarters of the plate illustrating healthy proportions of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy within a single meal. At the time of its unveiling according to the Washington Post, Myplate had been well received by the public especially when comparing it to the old MyPyramid.

Dr. Brian Wansink, PhD, John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior, Director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and Dr. Sibylle Kranz, PHD, RD, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Director of the Coordinated Program and Member of the Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) at Purdue University, wanted to find out who "got the memo" about MyPlate within three months of its release. The Dr.’s set out to understand key characteristics of mothers who were early adopters of MyPlate in order to speed adoption among others. The team was especially interested in mother’s who play the part of "nutritional gatekeeper" in most families, and what traits these trendsetting mothers had in common with each other.

Through on online national survey, 497 mothers, aged 18 to 65 Years, answered questions about MyPlate, demographics, attitudes, and behaviors.

The survey showed that only 46 mom’s or 9% were familiar with MyPlate, 105 or 21% were somewhat familiar and 349 or 70% were not familiar.

From the survey analysis researchers had found some interesting patterns; 1) moms were more likely to be familiar with MyPlate if they knew about MyPyramid. 2) moms found MyPlate easy to understand and relevant to their lives were more likely to see its potential to help their families eat better and 3) moms who adopted MyPlate were more likely to be "vegetable lovers" and to involve their kids in preparing family meals. Moms love of veggies were due to several reasons besides vegetables being good for you, they found they can improve the taste of the entrees they're served with and make meals feel like special family occasions.

In their conclusion the team writes “Early MyPlate adopters found it clear and easy to use, perhaps owing to nutrition knowledge and cooking experience. Efforts to expand MyPlate to new user groups should explain its purpose and applications, build on familiarity with MyPyramid, and offer practical guidance for preparing vegetables.”

So, what can the rest of us learn from these trendsetting MyPlate moms?

Involve kids in meal preparation. This doesn't just mean cooking – kids can also make grocery lists, clip coupons, and set and clear the table.

Don't just tell your kids to eat their veggies – show them that you do too. Make it a family priority to try new vegetables or new recipes for familiar ones. Who knows, you may become a vegetable lover!

You can go to Choose My Plate online for information including easy meal plans and healthy eating on a budget.

The article "Who’s Using MYPlate ?" Is published online in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

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