The current nutrition guidelines emphasize the use of MyPlate for healthy eating from all five food groups.

The current nutrition guidelines emphasize the use of MyPlate for healthy eating from all five food groups. Half of your plate should be from fruits and vegetables, one-fourth should be whole grains, and one-fourth should be protein. Here are some fun facts from each of the five food groups.

Dairy — The difference in Greek yogurt versus conventional yogurt has to do with the way it is strained. Greek yogurt has less of the liquid whey, making it thicker. Greek yogurt has more protein than conventional yogurt, but may also have less calcium. Greek yogurt may or may not have similar amounts of vitamin D, but both Greek yogurt and conventional yogurt have similar amounts of “friendly bacteria” which promotes digestive heath.

Grains — Quinoa is a whole grain that contains all the amino acids to make it a complete protein. It is also naturally gluten-free, so it can be enjoyed by those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It is also has the most potassium of any grain. Quinoa cooks in less than 15 minutes and can be added to soups, salads, side dishes, and other recipes.

Fruits — It does not matter if you eat fruit before, during, after, or between meals. Myths have been circulating around about the timing of eating fruits and digestion. Fruits can be part of a healthy eating plan and can be eaten with meals or between meals as a snack. Include some kind of protein with your fruit to help you stay full longer (the fiber in the fruit also helps).

Vegetables — If you buy bagged greens or bagged produce that comes labeled as “pre-washed,” you do not need to wash it when you get home. Your water and sink at home will not remove more than the commercial washing techniques. In fact, any bacteria lurking in your sink could contaminate the produce, so avoid washing it if the package says it has been washed already.

Protein — You should use eggs within 3-5 weeks of purchase. The “sell-by” or expiration date may pass during this time, but the eggs are perfectly safe to eat. Any cracked eggs should be thrown away, as bacteria can enter through the cracks. Eggs should be stored in the carton in a cold part of the refrigerator, not in the door.

If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please contact Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Call the Camden County Extension Center at 573-346-2644 or email Melissa at


Melissa Bess is a health and wellness professional with MU Extension. She is also the author of a health and wellness blog at