MyPlates: How do I determine MyPlate equivalents?

You can enter MyPlate values in the ESHA software for foods & ingredients that you add to your database.

To determine the MyPlate equivalents, refer to the MyPlate food group definitions on the USDA website.  The page for each food group includes an expandable table with additional examples of equivalents as well as more details.


Definitions from the ChooseMyPlate site:

What counts as a cup of fruit?

In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group.


What counts as a cup of vegetables?

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group.


What counts as an ounce-equivalent of grains?

In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Grains Group.


What counts as an ounce-equivalent in the Protein Foods Group?

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.


What counts as a cup in the Dairy Group?

In general, 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the Dairy Group.


*Avocados and olives are part of the Vegetable Group; nuts and seeds are part of the Protein Foods Group. These foods are also high in oils. Soft margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressings are mainly oil and are not considered to be part of any food group.


You could approach determining & calculating MyPlate equivalents in a few ways.

1. You could refer to MyPlate values reported for USDA items in the database.
For instance, for fresh kale, if you refer to the USDA kale, chopped, ESHA Code, 5208, open the Ingredient record & click on the Nutrients tab (MyPlates are at the end of the list of nutrients if you have "Show All Nutrients" selected).

This item reports 3.13 cup equivalents of MyPlate vegetables per 100g of kale.

2.  To calculate the MyPlates that use volume measures, like fruit, vegetables, dairy:
you can either measure & weigh the actual foods so you have those volume to weight equivalents
or you can refer to USDA items in the database to see if they provide the volume to weight information.

You can find volume & weight information in the Ingredient record under the Yields/Measures tab.
Again, using the kale mentioned above, the Yields/Measures information lists the following:

Once you have the volume to weight information, then you want to consider:

a.  the MyPlate definition of the food 
b.  & if necessary how 100g translates in terms of MyPlate equivalents - since many suppliers provide nutrient data per 100g.

The Yields/Measures information tells us that 1 cup of fresh, chopped kale weighs 16g.
The MyPlate definition for leafy greens:  2 cups leafy greens = 1 cup equiv of MyPlate vegetables.
2 cups of kale weighs 32g
100g / 32g = 3.125 cup equiv of MyPlate vegetables
We round that to 3.13 cup equiv of MyPlate vegetables

With MyPlate groups that use weights, it might be a little more straight forward.
For instance, for cooked meats:
1 oz = 28.35g
100g / 28.35 = 3.53 oz equivalent for cooked meats


Mixed foods or ingredients may be challenging if you do not know the amounts of specific ingredients within the finished product.  You may need to contact the supplier or manufacturer for more detail.

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