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Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera staff

Food Plate Replaces Food Pyramid

The plate is the new pyramid. That's according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has rolled out new recommendations for daily food intake that are based on a food plate instead of a food pyramid. The updatedUSDA graphic and recommendations are part of an effort to combat obesity nationwide by helping people make better food choices.

The food pyramid is an almost 20-year-old tool that 80 percent of Americans know and recognize, so why the change? The new graphic shows people how to build a healthy plate of food at meal times. It gives people clearer guidelines on types of food to eat. For example, the "meat and beans" category has been changed to "proteins" so that the name includes foods such as seafood and tofu.

The graphic also gives better visual cues for portion size. The plate includes four sections that represent proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables. A small circle next to the plate represents dairy products. Fruits and vegetables take up half of the plate, which tells people that a majority of their food in a day should come from those two food groups.

The USDA's website includes interactive tools to help you and your family make food choices for better health.

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Stay Hydrated in the Summer

Drinking water when you're thirsty is usually enough to keep your body sufficiently hydrated, but that can change when the weather is hot or you're involved in vigorous physical activity. Dehydration can be dangerous, especially for children and older people, so make an effort to remain hydrated during the summer months.

Listen to your body. There's really no set number on how many ounces of water a person needs a day. If you feel thirsty, that means you need more fluids. If you're having any symptoms of dehydration - dry or sticky mouth and not needing to use the restroom - get out of the heat and drink small sips of water until you feel better.

Go for shade. As your body sweats to cool off, you're losing fluids that need to be replaced. Go indoors or sit under a shady tree to cool off, and be sure to drink a lot of liquids.

Seek professional help. Dehydration can cause  heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke. If you or someone you're with feels dizzy, lightheaded, lethargic or confused, call 911 as these are serious signs of dehydration. Inability to produce tears, sunken eyes, little urination for eight hours, fast-beating heart and blood in the stool or vomit also are symptoms that need immediate medical attention.

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Rise and Shine Breakfast Cobbler

The USDA recommends this recipe as a good source of fruits and grains. One serving of this breakfast dish provides 1/2-ounce of grains and 1 cup of fruits.

1 cup juice-packed, canned, sliced peaches, drained
1 cup juice-packed, canned, sliced pear halves, drained
6 pitted prunes, cut in half (or other dried fruit)
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 cup granola, low-fat

In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix peaches, pears, prunes, vanilla extract, orange zest, cup orange juice; stir. Top with granola. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Spoon into 4 bowls and serve warm.

Nutritional information per serving
Serves 4. Serving size is cup.
Calories, 280; total fat, 1 g; saturated fat, 1 g; sodium, 60 mg; protein, 3g.

Source: SNAP-Ed Connection

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In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.