USDA’s My Plate

USDA MyPlate LogoMyPlate is a great tool to use when planning your meals; it’s the new version of the Food Pyramid (remember that?) but it’s more user-friendly. The USDA recommends that we eat:

Fruits

  • A little less than 1/4 of your daily food intake
  • Whole fruit is preferable to juice but any fruit counts: fresh, frozen, canned, 100% juice or dried.
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies

Protein

  • A little less than 1/4 of your daily food intake
  • Go lean with protein.
  • Nuts, beans/peas, seeds, poultry, lean meat, seafood, soy and eggs are in this group.

Vegetables

  • 1/4 of your daily food intake
  • Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of vegetable group.
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, and vary your veggies.

Grains

  • 1/4 of your daily food intake
  • Whole wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal are great grains! Try to keep at least half of this as whole grains.
  • Read labels to find more whole grain foods.

Dairy

  • One glass of 2% milk suffices
  • Go easy on cheese.
  • Skim yogurt is a good choice, too.

Nutrition at Elon

Find information on ingredients, allergens, meals that meet your dietary needs and more on the Elon Dining website.

Portion Size Guide

The Basics

  • 1 cup = baseball
  • 1/2 cup = lightbulb
  • 1 oz or 2 tbsp = golf ball
  • 3 oz chicken or meat = desk of cards
  • 3 oz fish = checkbook

Grains

  • 1 cup of cereal flakes = baseball
  • 1 pancake = compact disc
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice = lightbulb
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta = lightbulb
  • 1 slice bread = cassette tape
  • 1 bagel = 6 oz can of tuna
  • 3 cups popcorn = 3 baseballs

Dairy & Cheese

  • 1.5 oz cheese = 3 stacked dice
  • 1 cup yogurt = baseball
  • 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt = lightbulb
  • 1/2 cup of ice cream = lightbulb

Fats & Oils

  • 1 tbsp butter or spread = poker chip
  • 1 tbsp salad dressing = poker chip
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise = poker chip
  • 1 tbsp oil = poker chip

Fruits & Vegetables

  • 1 medium fruit = baseball
  • 1/2 cup grapes = about 16 grapes
  • 1 cup of salad greens = baseball
  • 1 cup carrots = about 12 baby carrots
  • 1 cup cooked vegetables = baseball
  • 1 baked potato = computer mouse

Meats, Fish & Nuts

  • 3 oz lean mean = deck of cards
  • 3 oz fish = checkbook
  • 3 oz tofu = deck of cards
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter = golf ball
  • 2 tbsp hummus = golf ball
  • 1/4 cup almonds = 23 almonds
  • 1/4 cup pistachios = 24 pistachios

Mixed Dishes

  • 1 hamburger (without bun) = deck of cards
  • 1 cup fries = about 10 fries
  • 4 oz nachos = about 7 chips
  • 3 oz meatloaf = deck of cards
  • 1 cup chili = baseball
  • 1 sub sandwich = about 6 inches
  • 1 burrito = about 6 inches

We offer this helpful guide in a pocket size, laminated version so you can carry it around! Simply request or attend one of our nutrition presentations offered by SPARKS! or stop by the SPARKS office in Koury 154A.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best types of foods to eat before an exam?

Omega 3 Fatty-Acids and Protein. Proteins help create amino acids, which help create neurotransmitters, which run your brain. The best places to find Omega-3’s are in fish, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews. Now go get that A!

Are the nutrition facts for the retail locations accurate? Because various sources provide different information in terms of calorie counts and things along those lines.

Good question. The short answer is that we hope the facts we present are accurate but we can only rely on the information provided by the retail locations themselves, which you can find an example of here. These nutrition facts are intended only as a guide so we can more carefully select our foods but are unlikely to be precise due to variations in ingredients and preparation methods. If we’ve listed information that you feel may be incorrect, definitely let us know!