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Start Simple with MyPlate: App Review

by Lindsey Sexton - January 4, 2021

 

This time of year is typically full of fresh starts and new resolutions. Often those goals include eating better and living a healthier lifestyle. And while there are countless apps to help you keep track of what you eat get throughout the day, some of them can be costly, difficult to figure out, and ineffective.

So to help you stay motivated and keep track of your nutrition goals throughout the year, consider using the free USDA MyPlate app: Start Simple with MyPlate.

 

 

Why should I use Start Simple with MyPlate?

Healthy eating can help you achieve a healthier life overall. Start Simple with MyPlate is based on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The app can help users make positive changes towards balanced eating through:

  • setting simple food goals
  • learning how to meet those goals
  • seeing real-time progress
  • earning badges along the way

 

 

How do I get started with the Start Simple with MyPlate app?

Visit https://www.myplate.gov/resources/tools/startsimple-myplate-app or search the term “MyPlate.gov” to find Start Simple with MyPlate in your app store. Once you install the app on your smart device, you’ll be prompted to take a quiz.

The quiz will open in your web browser and will give you a chance to answer questions about your nutrition goals, typical eating patterns, possible barriers to balanced eating, and topics of interest regarding nutrition. At the end of the quiz, you’ll even get a chance to type-in other resource topics related to healthy eating that may interest you.

Take note of your Results Code, return to the MyPlate App, and enter your code. Once you choose whether to set goals based on your results, go to the Goals Dashboard to review and edit your goals.

 

 

What’s included in the Start Simple with MyPlate app?

Goal Setting

Within each food group you’ll be prompted to select up to three goals each day (i.e. have a vegetable for breakfast or have a protein food as a snack). Once you’ve selected your goals, tap done and your list of goals will appear for that food group. Each goal has a check box to the left so you can indicate you’ve completed that particular goal and each goal has a Tip 💡 button for simple ideas to help you reach your goal.

You may be pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it can be to boost the number of whole grains you get in a day or reduce the amount of sugar you consume in a day.

 

Badges

Need a boost of confidence or a little extra motivation to keep you going? Check out the Badges section to keep the competitor within you satisfied of your progress. You’ll earn badges upon completion of goals and challenges, and you can share your progress with your friends.

 

MyPlate 101

The MyPlate model is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. MyPlate 101 gives you the basics of each food group and links you to more information for each group on the USDA MyPlate.gov website.

 

Challenges

Periodically, this tab will update with challenges such as complete 20 goals in one month or earn one food badge this month. Complete the challenge, earn your badge, and share your results if you’d like.

 

User Profiles (Optional)

While it isn’t required to use the app or resources, you can elect to create an account to keep track of your progress no matter which device you use. This account allows you to login to all MyPlate tools, including:

  • MyPlate website
  • MyPlate Kitchen
  • MyPlate Quiz
  • Start Simple with MyPlate app

The process is straight forward and quick although it requires you to access your email during enrollment so be ready for that, if you choose to set up a profile.

 

 

What are the benefits and challenges to using Start Simple with MyPlate?

What I like most about Start Simple with MyPlate is the daily reminder to keep working towards my nutrition goals. You can elect to receive notifications from this app upon installation or go to your device Settings and turn on notifications for Start Simple with MyPlate. It also has helpful tips and learning opportunities for building more balanced meals.

What I like least about this app is that you have to cross between the app and website to access all of the information. However, with a careful eye, you can easily look at the top of the screen to see which you are using and simply jump back and forth as desired.

Visit https://www.myplate.gov/resources/tools/startsimple-myplate-app to download the app today.

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