Saturday, August 6, 2011

How did that get on MyPlate?

Coqui the Chef on "MyPlate" Interview by Lisandra Lamboy

Earlier this summer the USDA and our first lady Michelle Obama did away with our pyramid and released a brand spanking new nutrition symbol for healthier eating entitled myplate! I knew Coqui the Chef would have lots to say about this so I decided to go visit him in his little cacique.

Balancing Calories
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid over sized portions. 
Foods to Increase
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Foods to Reduce
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.  

courtesy of New York Post
Here is a sample of MyPlate entrée:
The old food pyramid is ancient!  The New York Post asked Three chefs adapt their dishes to the new noshing rules
Eric Ripert, Lidia Bastianich, and Bill Telepan to create their ideal MyPlate entrée (the USDA's new icon designed to replace the food pyramid). Eric Ripert (of course) made barely-cooked salmon with ratatouille, instant black wild rice, and "strawberries with honey for dipping in a side of Greek yogurt."

LL: Hi Coquito! So what do you think about America’s new nutrition symbol and guidelines for healthier eating Coquito?

Coqui the Chef: Bueno, I definitely think it’s an improvement from what we had before:
I could never really tell how many fruits and vegetables I was supposed to eat by looking at the mypyramid symbol. The new symbol makes it muy claro that our meals and snacks should always include a fruit or a vegetable. Por ejemplo, you could add strawberries and bananas to yogurt, peppers and tomatoes to omelettes, have vegetable-based soups for lunch and prepare a salad every time you have dinner. Si quieres, you should visit they have a calculator that tells you exactly how many fruits and vegetables your body needs a day to stay healthy.

LL: Thanks for letting me know about that calculator, I’m definitely going to try it when I get home! On to my next question, what do you think about the advice given about balancing calories and avoiding over sized portions?

Coqui the Chef: Si, si…this advice is definitely important. Think about the way our typical plate looks like, it is usually overflowing with white rice, beans and lots of meat like pollo o carne asada (chicken or roasted beef). We need to start thinking less is better, rather than more is better. I know people who get really upset when they don’t get a plate filled with food. They think that they aren’t getting enough for their money. But, unfortunately those huge portion sizes aren’t doing you any good since they are giving your body more calories than what it really needs. Remember, all the calories that your body doesn’t use up during the day gets stored in your body as fat, and fat as we all know is difficult to get rid of. I know it’s not easy to tell if you’re eating the right amount of food so if you need some help with that, just visit WebMD’s Portion Size Guide.  Print it so that you can put it on your refrigerator and always have it handy.

LL: That’s a great guide to have; I’m definitely going to put that on my fridge. So for my last question, what do you think about their recommendation to limit sugary drinks and drink water instead? What should people who don’t like the taste of water drink?

Coqui the Chef: Sugary drinks are a big problem para nuestra gente! The NYC Department of Health states that “a 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain 16 ½ teaspoons of sugar,” which can add up to 250 calories extra a day to our diet. They also found that the number one consumers of sugary beverages live in the Bronx and are between 18-44 years old, so it is really important that we think twice before buying that soda at la bodega every day. Remember if you don’t like drinking water you need to stick to drinks that contain 25 calories or less for every 8 oz. serving. Visit the website for more recommendations from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign

LL: Well thanks for your time Coquito, you sure have a lot great advice to share with us. 

Coqui the Chef: De nada, any time you want to come chat just visitame! Cuidate! Coqui, coqui…

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