Start Simple with MyPlate

Start Simple with MyPlate

Start Simple with MyPlate and get tips, ideas and a personalized plan to meet your food group targets. Find what works for you and your family within your food preferences, health goals, and budget. 

Get started with tips from the MyPlate Food Groups and check out our app. Or, jump down to Start Simple with MyPlate resources.


Fruits - Focus on whole fruits:

Eat seasonally! Checking what fruits are in season in your area can help save money.

Craving something sweet? Try dried fruits like cranberries, mango, apricots, cherries, or raisins.

To meet your fruit goal—keep fresh fruit rinsed and where you can see it. Reach for a piece when you need a snack.

menu board

Vegetables - Vary your veggies:

Vary your veggies by adding a new vegetable to a different meal each day.

Add color to salads with baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or green beans. Include seasonal veggies for variety throughout the year.

Vegetables go well with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat dip or hummus with raw broccoli, red and yellow peppers, sugar snap peas, celery, cherry tomatoes or cauliflower.


Grains - Make half your grains whole grains:

Popcorn is a whole grain! Pop a bag of low-fat or fat-free popcorn for a healthier snack.

Whole grain pasta is great in baked dishes or pasta salad. If you choose refined grain pasta, make sure it's enriched by checking the ingredient list.

Ready-to-eat, wholegrain cereal is a tasty breakfast option or can be enjoyed as a whole grain snack.

Protein Foods

Protein Foods - Vary your protein routine: 

Make dinner once and serve it twice. Roast a larger cut of lean meat. Make a second meal using the ‘planned-over’ meat.

For car trips, pack a mixture of unsalted nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a crunchy, protein-packed snack.

Keep seafood on hand. Seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna, or crab and frozen fish is quick and easy to prepare.


Dairy - Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt:

Make a smoothie by blending fat-free milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try bananas, peaches, or mixed berries.

For breakfast try low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Mix in cereal or fruit for extra flavor, texture and nutrients.

Adding 8 oz. of low-fat or fat-free milk to your meal is one of the easiest ways to get dairy.


Limits - Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fats and added sugars:

Tips for Salt and Sodium:

Many processed foods contain high amounts of sodium. Choose fresh vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood when possible.

Using spices or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.

Tips for Saturated Fats:

Keep it lean and flavorful. Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking—they don’t add extra fat.

Simple substitutions can help you stay within your saturated fat limit. Try using nonfat yogurt when you make tuna or chicken salad.

Tips for Added Sugars:

Split the sweet treats and share with a family member or friend.

Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugars.

Start Simple with MyPlate Resources

  Start Simple with MyPlate App  

thumbnail image of a mobile phone featuring the Start Simple with MyPlate app on it

Build healthy eating habits one goal at a time! Use the Start Simple with MyPlate app to pick daily food goals, see real-time progress, and earn fun badges along the way.

Tips from MyPlate Staff

Just like you, our MyPlate team members are always looking for new ways to achieve and maintain a healthy eating style. Check out some simple tips from our MyPlate staff!

Share your tip

Tell us how MyPlate has inspired you and your family, friends, or community to eat healthy and be active.

MyPlate Plan

MyPlate Plan

Ready to get started? Find your personal food group targets with the MyPlate Plan! Just enter your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. You can even see your physical activity recommendations!

Action Guide

Action Guide

After you've found your MyPlate Plan, use the resources in the Action Guide to put your plan into action and reach your goals!

MyPlate Plan Menu template

MyPlate Plan Menu

Record the food groups you eat and drink during the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and your snacks with the MyPlate Plan Menu template.

Start Simple with MyPlate Tip Sheet

MyPlate Tip Sheet

Print this handout with tips from the five MyPlate food groups that you can easily incorporate into your busy life.

Take the MyPlate Challenge

Join us in our MyPlate Challenge! Post your MyPlate inspired healthy eating tips with a photo or video and share it on your social media accounts.

Professional Toolkit

The Start Simple with MyPlate Toolkit for Professionals provides promotion ideas, graphics, a tip library, and social media for communicating the campaign effectively and efficiently.