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Good nutrition doesn’t have to be a challenge.  You can have the healthy body you want by following these basic principles based on USDA Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate.

  1. Keep good nutrition simple
  2. Stay within calorie limits and
  3. Enjoy foods that are rich in essential nutrients first, from all five food groups.
  4. Find your balance between food and physical activity.

There are five food groups for a reason.

No single food or food group can provide all the 50 plus nutrients you need each day. A key recommendation of MyPyramid is to choose foods rich in essential nutrients from all the food groups. These foods provide “power” calories because they pack more essential vitamins and minerals into fewer calories. For a healthier, more active lifestyle, choose nutrient-rich foods first, and then select less nutrient-rich options to meet your calorie needs.

To get the benefits of nutrient-rich foods more often, choose foods from the base of the pyramid from each food group. The base is wider to indicate nutrient-rich foods that provide the most nutrients with the fewest calories, solid fats and added sugars. This makes your calories count more.

Power your plate with nutrient-rich foods with these helpful tips:

Shop the perimeter of the store for the freshest nutrient-rich foods, including:

  • Brightly colored fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries and oranges
  • Vibrant green, red, yellow and orange vegetables like tomatoes, spinach and orange peppers
  • Whole grain, fortified and fiber-rich bread and pasta products
  • Nonfat or low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Lean proteins like lean meats, eggs and seafood

When snacking or making a meal, be creative...

  • Choose brightly colored red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, lowfat yogurt or lean beef jerky.
  • Make a salad into an entrée by including fruits, vegetables and a lean protein, such as grilled steak.
  • Make an easy parfait out of lowfat yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast or a snack at any time during the day.
  • Choose whole-grain breads and lean protein such as roast beef (from the round) and top with dark green lettuce and bright red tomatoes for a healthy sandwich.

Lean Beef's Role in a Healthy Diet

A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of five nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus), and a good source of four nutrients (niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin) – while contributing less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000 calorie diet. Beef’s combination of nutrients can play a powerful role in many issues facing Americans today – from fueling physical activity and helping manage weight, to developing cognitive skills and aging vibrantly.

Here's a lean beef trick: If you're wondering what beef cuts are lean, look for "Round" or "Loin" in the name. For example: Beef Top Round Steak or Beef Tenderloin Roast. To make your shopping trip even easier, take along our 29 Lean Cuts Wallet Card so you've always got a list of the leanest beef cuts!

Know Before You Go

The Interactive Meat Case is designed to help you make better choices when you shop for beef. Use your knowledge of "Round" and "Loin" and learn more by clicking on different cuts. Find out if they are lean or not, the best cooking methods to make them tender and tasty, and get recipes to make your shopping trip and meal prep a snap. Click the image below to go to the virtual meat case before your next trip to the grocery store!