The challenge of eating by the USDA guidelines

Prepping for the MyPlate on My Budget Experiment means figuring out what the USDA wants me to eat

Can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the MyPlate advised daily nutrients? That’s the question I’m asking this March with MyPlate on My Budget.

Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings is providing support, guidance and yummy recipes.

But first, I had to take a hard look at what the USDA thinks my family should be eating each week. That’s why I printed out the MyPlate Daily Food Plan charts for each person in my family.

Some of the MyPlate requirements are real shockers. Fish twice a week? Um…. we don’t normally do that, even though our budget is closer to the liberal end of the spectrum.

So here’s my new, bare-bones weekly grocery list:

Grains: 189 oz

  • 98 of them whole

Vegetables: 73.5 cups

  • 7 cups dark leafy green
  • 20.5 cups red and orange
  • 21.5 cups starch
  • 6.5 cups beans and peas
  • 18 cups other

Fruits: 52.5 cups

  • Whole fruits whenever possible

Dairy: 42 cups

Protein: 154 oz

  • 44 oz should be fish
  • choose beans, seeds, nuts more often

My gut reaction to this list?

Yuck! That’s because 7 cups of dark leafy green vegetables means three and a half servings for my entire family. ALL WEEK! That’s less than one serving of dark green veggies per person, per week.

Right now my husband and I eat one or two servings of dark leafy green vegetables per day, and our kids probably eat three servings a week. Following the USDA guidelines might mean that we are saying goodbye to our daily green smoothie habit.

On the plus side, eating more fish should be good for us, if I’m careful about what I purchase. But will my kids actually eat fish twice a week? That’s a really good question…

Stay tuned to find out!

More in Life

Julia Turner and her father, Ed, toast as they try out a flight of beer and cider at Lake Stevens Brewing Co. when it opened last year. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Beer of the Week: Lake Stevens Brewing Co.’s Sour Imperial

The beer has a depth and a complex flavor profile that goes beyond just another barrel-aged stout.

Now is the perfect time to design the garden of your dreams

Find inspiration in gardening magazines, on the internet, in your neighborhood and at nurseries.

‘Star Wars’ video game faces charges that it promotes gambling

By Gene Park / The Washington Post Imagine buying a new chess… Continue reading

Around Thanksgiving, gardeners give thanks for the garden

What are they most thankful for? The pleasure they receive from spending time in their yards.

Great Plant Pick: Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire’

What: An exceptional selection of the eastern arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis “Degroot’s Spire”… Continue reading

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Our annual list of holiday events in Snohomish County and beyond

LIGHTS The Lights of Christmas: Open 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec.… Continue reading

Most Read