MyPlate is Shaping the Way we Feed Children | Maryland Food Bank
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MyPlate is Shaping the Way we Feed Children

May 25, 2018

MyPlate is the United States Department of Agriculture’s set of guidelines for helping kids establish healthy eating habits. The MyPlate model simplifies the “Food Pyramid” that many Americans grew up with into five food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. All of our MFB Kids programs (Summer Clubs, Supper Clubs, School Pantries, and HEART Markets) follow the MyPlate guidelines to ensure that kids (and their families) are able to build a solid nutritional foundation, positioning them for success.



Countless studies show that nutritious foods improve health outcomes in children, which ultimately transforms their lives, their families, and their communities. That’s why we developed MFB Kids, a series of initiatives that feed kids where they are and when they are most in need. In FY17, we distributed enough food to account for more than 4 million meals through our School Pantry, Summer Club and Supper Club Programs.

We know that Marylanders feel strongly about this vulnerable population, as 70 percent of poll respondents said they are very motivated by our goal of eliminating hunger among children.

Knowing this, why wouldn’t we give kids the best food possible, to allow them to be the best they can be?

MyPlate Sets The Table For Success

“Children are the future is not just a cliché,” said Zanika Ghee, Maryland Food Bank’s Director of Youth Programs. “We are not around when families are food shopping, but if we get kids excited about nutritious food, then they might ask their parents for peaches instead of a sugary snack. If we keep that going, we create a ripple and healthy kids become healthy adults.” In fact, reaching kids early on can help break generational cycles of hunger in families.

That’s why we’re putting a greater emphasis on educating the kids and parents who visit our 209 school pantries about the importance of good nutrition.

MyPlate Replaces the Traditional Food Pyramid

The USDA’s Food Pyramid once served as the primary nutritional guideline for generations of kids. But new research has led to new thinking. Now, that complicated triangle has softened into the new and well-rounded MyPlate model. Featuring 40% veggies, 30% grains, 20% protein, 10% fruit and a small portion of dairy, such as a glass of milk or a yogurt cup, MyPlate is much easier for young minds to understand, and more importantly, integrate into their lives in the long term.

How MyPlate is Reshaping MFB Kids Programs

Schools that host pantries can now order items on our menu, categorized by MyPlate food groups. We provide them with fun guidelines so that families can affordably shop and prepare well-balanced meals that kids and their parents will want to eat. There are more than 205,000 food-insecure children in Maryland, your support of MFB Kids initiatives is more important than ever. Together we can help them grow up healthy and strong, and able to reach their full potential.

“If you have a healthy meal, your mind is clear, and you can focus on what your dreams are,” said Angela White, club director, Freetown Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis.

Consider supporting our School Pantry Program and helping us get more MyPlate foods into the lives of Maryland’s children and their families by making a donation today.

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