Nutrition Made Simple

How do you define nutrition? The word nutrition can be technically defined as: the process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues. I like to describe nutrition as: providing your body with healthy foods to make it flourish.  Like many things in life, if we keep it (nutrition) simple, we will be much more likely to follow through with keeping our bodies healthy.

Remember the Food Guide Pyramid?  Well, the USDA, which is the agency in charge of nutrition, has switched to a new symbol called MyPlate. MyPlate is much simpler to understand and therefore much easier to follow.  MyPlate has the same concept as the old Food Guide Pyramid which is:

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Eat less of some foods and more of others.

Fruits and vegetables should take up half the plate, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section.

Grains and proteins take up the other half of the plate with the grain portion being a little bigger than the protein section.

Don’t forget to add a small portion of dairy.

To learn more about the different food groups and good choices for each, go to It has a wealth of information on the MyPlate model as well recipes, tips and educational materials.

Adding color to your plate is another simple way to get good nutrition.  You should have 4 or 5 different colors on your plate at a time. Below is a list of colorful foods and the health benefits of each.

Green foods contain antioxidants and nutrients that promote healthy vision.

  • Green apples, zucchini, avocados, limes, green grapes, broccoli

Orange and Deep Yellow foods also promote healthy vision, plus they contain vitamins that boost your immune system.

  • Apricots, sweet potatoes, carrots, grapefruit, pears, sweet corn, oranges

Purple and Blue foods contain antioxidants that provide anti-aging benefits, plus they help with memory and urinary tract health.

  • Blueberries, raisins, plums, blackberries, eggplant, prunes, blackberries

Red foods are good for heart health, vision and your immune system.

  • Cranberries, red grapes, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers

Some White, Tan and Brown foods have nutrients that promote heart health.

  • Bananas, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, cauliflower, ginger

If you keep nutrition simple and colorful, your body will flourish.


The author of this blog post is Divine Home Care Registered Nurse and Litchfield Branch Manager, Sherry Norstedt.