USDA Launches Online Healthy Eating Websites

Healthy Diet
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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to help consumers make healthy eating choices, so it has launched several new online nutritional tools. The new websites are part of the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative and include “Growing a Healthier You: Nutrition From the Farm to the Table,” “MyFood-a-pedia,” and “10 Tips Series.”

The “Growing a Healthier You: Nutrition From the Farm to the Table” is a new web page for the USDA’s MyPyramid. The site includes three main sections: “What’s For Dinner (or Breakfast or Lunch)?” “Your Garden, Your Produce, Your Menus,” and “From Garden to Plate, Safety Matters.” Consumers are provided access to many recipe and menu ideas for healthy eating, as well as food safety tips and information.

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The “MyFood-a-pedia” online tool offers consumers quick access to healthy eating information on more than 1,000 foods. Visitors can get calorie count information on items within the five food groups, and each item consumers enter into the search box then offers additional options. For example, a search for “carrots” allows consumers to get calorie information on cooked carrots, glazed carrots, peas and carrots, raw carrots, carrot cake with icing, carrot juice, and carrot salad.

The “10 Tips Series” provides consumers with specific advice on how to achieve healthy eating. The first three of the 10 tips series (which are printable and perfect for posting on a refrigerator) are “Cutting Back on Salt and Sodium,” “Be a Healthy Role Model for Children,” and “Following a Vegetarian Diet.” More tips will follow in the near future.

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the new online healthy eating websites can help consumers form a better connection with the food they purchase and consume. In the USDA news release, Vilsack noted that “There is a disconnect between the farmer and the food that consumers buy and we want to re-connect these long standing ties between the people who produce the food and those who purchase and prepare it. These new online tools will help do that.”

SOURCE: USDA News release #0461.09, September 23, 2009

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