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MyPlate, MyState: Celebrating Local Foods and Healthful Eating

In early October, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) launched the next phase of MyPlate, MyState, an effort to celebrate homegrown pride, foods, and recipes and bring communities together around healthful eating.

Through MyPlate, MyState, the USDA is working to make the connection between healthful eating and more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide who are selling into local markets through grocery stores, local restaurants, schools and other institutions, farmers' markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture programs. MyPlate, MyState is part of the USDA's efforts to support local and regional food systems and galvanize the important role American agriculture plays in feeding American families.

Over the next year, the USDA also will be connecting with Americans through social media to promote the role of local and regional agriculture in supporting healthful eating. Using the MyPlate presence on Facebook and Twitter, the USDA will promote a series of stories, tips, and calls to action aimed at inspiring consumers to take advantage of the healthful foods available in their communities while supporting rural economies. Resources include tip sheets on meal planning, cooking, healthful eating, exercise, and other health- and nutrition-related topics; press releases about new initiatives and resources from the USDA; and consumer campaigns concerning food safety, food waste, seasonal and local eating, and more.

"Eating decisions are very personal, and MyPlate, MyState encourages Americans to personalize their plate with local and regional foods and flavors," says CNPP executive director Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD. "MyPlate, MyState is an invitation to explore the breadth and diversity of their local agriculture to find healthful foods they enjoy."

In addition, in honor of National Farm to School Month in October, the USDA has released a MyPlate, MyState toolkit for teachers, to promote the intersection of nutrition and agriculture in the classroom. The toolkit provides links to lesson plans around gardening, agriculture, and nutrition, as well as new MyPlate, MyState activity sheets that teachers can use throughout the school year.

MyPlate, MyState is part of MyPlate, MyWins, a consumer education campaign designed to help Americans find healthful eating styles that work for them through small changes that can be maintained over time. MyPlate, MyWins was launched early this year in coordination with the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and supports the guidelines' recommendation to encourage small shifts toward a more healthful eating pattern.

"Healthful eating styles aren't meant to be rigid plans. Through MyPlate, MyWins and MyPlate, MyState, we want to show consumers that healthful eating can include foods they enjoy, that meet personal and cultural preferences, fit within a budget, and can include foods that are grown within our communities," Tagtow says.

MyPlate, MyState began earlier this year when it was integrated into First Lady Michelle Obama's 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. In support of her Let's Move! initiative, schoolchildren from across the nation were invited to create an original recipe that was healthful, delicious, and included local flavors and ingredients. In July, 56 winners—one from each of the states, territories, and DC—joined the First Lady at the White House for the Kids' State Dinner where they dined on some of their winning MyPlate, MyState–inspired dishes. Below, Today's Dietitian features two winning recipes from Sable, age 10, of Alaska, and Aniya, age 10, of Mississippi.

Each of the winning recipes has been included on the USDA's What's Cooking? recipe website and featured on ChooseMyPlate.gov on their state/territory-specific MyPlate, MyState page. Each MyPlate, MyState page also includes information about foods grown and produced in that area, official state foods, farm to school investments, and more. Each page is a celebration of the local agriculture and can be found at http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyState.

Source: USDA


Deliciousness Over Rice

Sable, age 10, of Alaska, says, "I really like vegetables. In the summer, I wander through the garden eating peas, carrots, broccoli, and even flowers like nasturtiums. I also love to fish for wild salmon and other types of whitefish with my family, so this recipe brings together my two favorite worlds. This recipe is for one of my favorite foods because it's so delicious and healthy. It uses wild salmon that we harvest from the Yukon River and then jar ourselves. However, any species of canned salmon can be used."

Serves 6

2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups rainbow chard leaves, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup snap peas
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 T avocado or olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup peeled and diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
2 T all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% milk
1 15-oz can salmon
3 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, combine cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, rainbow chard, snap peas, garlic, avocado or olive oil, pepper, and salt. Place in a 9 X 13-in baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are just soft.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the flour and stir until bubbly. Add the milk, whisking to mix, until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the salmon and roasted vegetables and stir to combine. Divide the rice and salmon-veggie mix among six bowls and serve.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 341; Total fat: 13 g; Sat fat: 4 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 51 mg; Sodium: 546 mg; Total carbohydrate: 35 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 22 g

Kickin' Cauliflower Shrimp and Grits

Aniya, age 10, of Mississippi, says, "I was inspired to make Kickin' Cauliflower Shrimp and Grits because a lot of people in Mississippi love shrimp and grits. Sadly, some of my fellow Mississippians add pounds of butter and salt to their shrimp and grits. So this is my version of healthy shrimp and grits, dedicated to the state of Mississippi."

Serves 4

3 T olive oil, divided
1/4 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 bunch collard greens, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 dash balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 head cauliflower, stem removed and chopped
1 fresh lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 ear corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 cup kernels)
10 oz fresh shrimp, peeled, tails removed, deveined
1 tsp fresh chives
1 tsp chili powder
Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

1. In a large stockpot, warm 1 T of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the collard greens, water, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes on low heat, or until greens are tender.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add cauliflower and pulse until it's ricelike in consistency. In a large saucepan, cook the cauliflower over medium heat until it releases some water, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 of the zest and juice of lemon, coconut milk, and 1 T of olive oil. Reduce heat to low, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes, or until cauliflower and corn are cooked through.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, warm remaining T of olive oil on medium heat. Add the shrimp, chives, salt, pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through.

4. Plate the cauliflower grits topped with greens and shrimp and squeeze a little lemon juice on top before serving.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 232; Total fat: 14 g; Sat fat: 3 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 88 mg; Sodium: 519 mg; Total carbohydrate: 16 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 14 g;

— Recipes courtesy of USDA What's Cooking? Mixing Bowl.