Nestle USA have unveiled its new "Balance Your Plate with Nestle" education campaign to help consumers build nutritious, convenient meals. The announcement was made during a luncheon presentation at the Consumer Federation of America's 36th Annual National Food Policy Conference.
The goal of "Balance Your Plate" is to help consumers enjoy the foods they love, while encouraging the consumption of more fruits and vegetables. By providing tips and tools, the campaign shows how individuals and families can quickly assemble high-quality balanced meals using frozen prepared entrees as the "center of the plate."
Using frozen prepared foods as the foundation of a meal has many advantages. A frozen entree can be just as nutritious a homemade one. Likewise, frozen entrees can help reduce food waste by not preparing more than you need. Additionally, frozen foods help consumers know what's on their plate. Frozen entrees feature ingredient labels whereas most restaurant foods do not.
Consumers can use menu models included in the Balance Your Plate toolkit and find suggestions on how to round out each frozen entree with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy needed to create deliciously balanced, perfectly portioned meal experiences. Each daily meal plan included in "Balance Your Plate" meets energy and nutrient goals for a standard 2,000-calorie diet, based on recommendations from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The toolkit also provides suggestions to reach 1,800 and 1,500 calorie diets. A free, downloadable "Balance Your Plate" toolkit can be found at www.nestleusa.com/balance
Research shows this kind of guidance is urgently needed because Americans are not eating balanced diets or controlling daily caloric intake. According to the NPD Group's National Eating Trends® database, consumers come close to meeting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) only seven out of 365 days a year.
To further gauge consumers' current knowledge of the DGA, as well as to understand their current meal consumption patterns, Nestle USA partnered with Harris Interactive to conduct a nationwide survey. The results showed that:
41% of consumers are aware of MyPlate or ChooseMyPlate.gov
92% of consumers had not visited ChooseMyPlate.gov
87% of consumers indicated interest in learning about simple ways to follow the DGA
"Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle requires commitment, but it doesn't need to feel like a chore," said Frank Higgins , President and CEO of Nestle Prepared Foods Company. "We believe that a resource like 'Balance Your Plate' gives Americans what they want – easy steps for managing portions and calorie intake that still include their favourite foods."
Whether working in clinics, hospitals, communities or grocery store settings, health professionals play a key role in teaching the fundamentals of sound nutrition and raising awareness of MyPlate and the DGA. For this reason, Nestle is providing these experts a comprehensive "Balance Your Plate" toolkit to use when counselling consumers.