MyPlate – Question of the month; August.

Message from Christine: Hello Everyone! As you have probably heard, the USDA has released MyPlate to replace MyPyramid. The image includes 5 food groups and illustrates the proportion each of the groups should represent at a meal. You can learn more about the USDA’s MyPlate by visiting: I hope your summer is off to a great start! Christine Carlson, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE, Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator

We have a large salad bar at the work cafeteria that I would like to take advantage of for lunch (especially during the summer).  I’m trying to lose weight and control blood sugar.  Could you give me some tips on what to choose and what to steer clear on at the salad bar?

Time to get creative! Salad bars are very fun and a great way to get in a variety of vegetables as part of your meal. However they are tempting when it comes to overloading the plate with food.

  • First step is try not to over load your plate.
  • Only pick up and fill one plate.   Speaking of plates it might be a good idea to keep the new MyPlate in mind when portioning out your food choice.  It is now replacing my pyramid. It is an easier visual to understand how to portion out food onto your plate to ensure that healthy balance of the food groups.
  • Start with filling your plate at least half full of colorful fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber, mushroom, tomatoes, beets, beans, onion, and other low calorie low carbohydrate vegetables.
  • Remember to pick a variety of vibrant colors for a boost of antioxidants.
  • When it comes to protein, beans are great to add because they are a great source of protein and fiber. If there is a lean meat available like a grilled chicken or tuna I would add a portion of that to my plate as well. A portion being around 3 ounces.
  • It you like croutons remember that they are a source of carbohydrate, stick to only a few of those.
  • Same with raisins or other dried fruits, they might add a lot of sugar to your meal.
  • The biggest concern when going to the salad bar is overloading the bacon, cheese, eggs and other high calorie foods.  Even though they are not loaded with carbohydrates they are still high in fat and cholesterol and are important to limit.
  • Dressing is another source of fat.  Depending on the type that you like, I usually say go with the real stuff. For example ranch or blue cheese the low fat dressing tend to have a higher carbohydrate content, with less taste so you may be tempted to use more.  I would suggest again, sticking to portion control either way.  Try to get a side of the dressing and use what you need.
  • Avoid large portions of sides like bread or pasta salads, when watching the carbohydrate content of the meal.

Here is a link from RD411 relating to salad bars and healthy food choices for other great tips and info!


CBS Also had a publication relating to salad and how easily they can become full of calories.


Hope this helps! Enjoy the salad bar!



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