What is MyPlate?
MyPlate is the dietary guidance icon from the United States Department of Agriculture based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is an easy to understand image that focuses on building a healthy plate. Resources and tools at ChooseMyPlate.gov can be easily adapted for people with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) that require texture-modified foods. Although lean and low-fat foods are generally recommended, those with swallowing difficulties may need higher-fat foods to ensure acceptability and ease of swallowing, and also to help them meet their energy needs.
How to Use MyPlate
The MyPlate image (Figure 1) consists of divided a plate with one-half fruits and vegetables in addition to moderate amounts of whole grains, protein foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy foods.
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Consider red, orange, and dark-green vegetables complemented with fruit as part of the entrée or for dessert.
Make more than one-quarter of your plate grains. Select grains that are primarily whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, whole cornmeal, oatmeal, and barley. Make less than one-quarter of your plate lean protein foods. These include animal sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Vegetarian alternatives would include beans, processed soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein (TVP).
Also, add one dairy serving to each meal.
Don't forget: Add some color to your plate! Not only does it make it more appetizing, the nutrients from deep-colored fruit and vegetables help support good health.
Other Factors to Consider
Choose foods that are low in sodium
Limit commercial soups and instead prepare homemade with salt-free or low-sodium broth.
Drain and rinse canned vegetables before puréeing or choose lower-sodium options.
Get lots of fiber
Eat a variety of puréed vegetables and fruits daily.
Make at least half your grains whole. Puréed whole-grain breads, crackers, and fortified cereals can be used as thickeners for many purées.
Choose more beans, peas, and lentil purées.
Consider adding fiber ingredients to grain and meat purées.
Puréed foods are all high in water and thus help with hydration. If thin liquids are safe for swallowing, choose water, low-sugar fruit/vegetable juices, and low-fat and fat-free milk to increase your fluid intake.
Putting It All Together...
Sample Puréed Breakfast
Sample Puréed Lunch
Sample Puréed Dinner
MyPlate Featuring Puréed Foods
Swallowing Problems and the Older Adult—https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs164
Puréed Foods for Swallowing Problems—https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs168
MyPlate for Older Adults—https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1260 [22 March 2013]
MyPlate featuring puréed foods.
Guideline: Puréed fruits must not have skin or seeds.
• Puréed canned fruit
• Puréed thawed frozen fruit
• Puréed ripe fruit
• Thickened juices
Guideline: Puréed grains must be moist, cohesive, without lumps, and not sticky.
• Puréed hot cereals (oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits)
• Puréed pasta
• Puréed rice
• Puréed bread mix
• Slurried breads, pancakes, waffles, rolls, crackers, etc.
Guideline: Puréed vegetables must not have skin, stringy pieces, or seeds.
• Canned pumpkin
• Puréed well-cooked vegetables
• Puréed canned vegetables
• Mashed potatoes with gravy or sour cream (to reduce stickiness)
Guideline: Puréed protein foods must be moist, cohesive, and without lumps or pieces.
• Puréed meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.)
• Puréed poultry
• Puréed legumes (beans, peas, and lentils)
• Puréed eggs
• Puréed tofu
Guideline: Dairy products should be smooth in consistency.
• Smooth yogurts, pudding, custard
• Puréed cottage/ricotta cheese
• Thickened milk
Thickened juices may be available at some pharmacies and grocery stores, or a thickener can be added to regular juice. Thickened juices may be easier to swallow for some individuals with swallowing difficulties. These juices may be thickened to a nectar, honey, or pudding consistency depending on the severity of swallowing difficulty.
A slurried food is prepared by food processing a dry food, such as crackers, breadcrumbs, or breakfast cereal, to a powder and then combining with a liquid such as milk to achieve a moist, purée consistency. Crumbled pancakes and waffles can also be slurried.
Yogurt that contains fruit pieces should be strained. The fruit pieces can be food processed until smooth and added back.