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Parents work hard to make healthy choices for their families. These tip sheets can make your job easier. 

Making Healthy Choices in the Dining Hall

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Your dining hall may have more healthy food options than you think without restricting you to just the salad bar.

Learn how to navigate all the food selections at available to you (PDF), select foods that will keep you full for longer and give you energy to get through the day.

Stay Healthy at College with MyPlate On Campus

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By Sasha B. Bard, MS, RD, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

In March 2013, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched the MyPlate On Campus initiative to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years. What makes MyPlate On Campus unique is that it not only empowers students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits, but also encourages them to bring their peers along for the ride.

The college environment can be hard to navigate and students may need a little help. Students are learning to manage a busy class schedule, make food decisions in all-you-can-eat settings, and live on their own for the first time. MyPlate On Campus shows young people how to build healthy habits with practical tips and tools.

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Here are a few simple steps to stay healthy on campus.

  • In a dorm room, stock the mini-fridge.

  • Have a variety of pre-cut and pre-washed veggies on hand. Try carrots, peppers or sugar snap peas.

  • Hummus, salsa and nut butters used as dips make veggies even tastier.

In the dining hall, re-think your drink!

  • Americans drink about 400 calories everyday from sodas, cappuccinos, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc.

  • Drink water to manage your calorie intake.

Stay Active.

  • Vow to take the stairs to class instead of the elevator.

  • Join an intramural team.

  • Choose a fitness class as an elective.

For more healthy campus-living ideas, refer to the Mini-Fridge Makeover , Be Choosey in the Dining Hall and Stay Fit on Campus resources, from the 10 Tips Nutrition Education Sheets. These tip sheets can be placed on a refrigerator or bulletin board for a healthy reminder.

Students interested in promoting health and wellness to others in their campus communities are invited to sign up as a MyPlate On Campus Ambassador.

This partnership program is designed to motivate students to take on a leadership role at their school by teaching others about nutrition and physical activity. Ambassadors complete an online training and have access to a MyPlate On Campus Toolkit which helps them get started. The Toolkit contains resources specific to college students and offers tips for Ambassadors as well as the faculty/staff supporting them.

There are currently more than 1,700 Ambassadors taking action on campuses in all 50 states. Cooking demos, grocery store tours, and health fairs are just a few activities Ambassadors are using to spread MyPlate across their campuses.

In addition, Ambassadors are using SuperTracker, a free online tool that provides users with a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan. SuperTracker allows Ambassadors and their peers to track their food choices, set activity goals, and monitor progress.

Follow MyPlate on Twitter @MyPlate and on Facebook to learn more about the MyPlate On Campus initiative.  For more information visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Get Your Healthy Eating Habits Back on Track During National Nutrition Month

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After indulging in a long winter’s worth of comfort food, March is an ideal time for getting eating habits back on track. That’s why it’s fitting that March is National Nutrition month— and we’re celebrating all month long!

Each week we’re sharing healthy eating tips, videos and other information you can use to make smart food choices and “enjoy the taste of eating right.”

  • Week one we’ll share nutrition tips for kids.

  • Week two you’ll learn how to eat healthy while in college.

  • Week three we’ll highlight tools to help plan healthy meals for you and your family.

  • Week four we’ll share advice for eating healthy as you age.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to get the latest updates or sign up to receive nutrition month email updates delivered directly to your inbox.

And since we know few things in life are harder than getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies, join Kids.gov for a Twitter chat on Wednesday, March 5 at 1 p.m. ET. We’ll be sharing tips and trading secrets on how to make sure your kids are eating a balanced diet. Follow @Kidsgov on Twitter and use the hashtag #NNMforKids to follow the conversation.