Every time you choose a meal or snack, you are “personalizing” your plate. We’re all different, and our choices are shaped by many factors, not only taste preference, but more complex factors, too, like access to food, culture, and tradition. There is no one size fits all approach to fitness and health.
THE NECESSARY NUTRIENTS
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may be avoiding dairy foods, but dairy provides essential nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D. If you’re lactose intolerant, try aged cheeses, like cheddar or Parmesan, which contain almost no lactose, cultured dairy foods, like yogurt or kefir, which contain beneficial bacteria that help you digest lactose, or lactose-free milk..
Plant-based is a popular way to personalize your plate right now, and as a Registered Dietitian, I am thrilled that teens are wanting to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in their diets. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans points out that many Americans fall short when it comes to consuming these foods.
THE MYPLATE WAY
Eating the MyPlate way, based on the 2020 Dietary Guidelines, can help guide you on how to fill your plate to make sure every bite and sip counts. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, a quarter whole grains, and a serving of dairy. Dairy is important to add to a plant-based diet, because not only does it provide high-quality protein, but milk adds nutrients lacking in American diets.
What you eat now is vital to lay the groundwork for health for the rest of your life. Most of the bone-building years occur in childhood and adolescence. Ensuring you get your recommended 3 servings of dairy a day is an easy way to provide calcium and vitamin D for building healthy bones during these crucial years.
Everyone is different, and a lot of factors affect our food choices. Work with a Registered Dietitian to get guidance when personalizing your own plate and visit thedairyalliance.com for more on dairy nutrition and delicious recipes!