NDSU Extension - Benson County


| Share

Balance Your Plate with Key Nutrients

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science


Balance Your Plate with Key Nutrients

Chances are, you have heard of or perhaps participated in a variety of diets that cut certain foods from your plate.  While being mindful of what you eat and reducing the amount of “sometimes food” that are put in your body is positive, it is important to consider what is being cut out.


Sometimes foods are foods that are low in nutrients and high in calories, saturated fat, and added sugar.  Minimizing these foods can only help to increase the overall health of your body.  There is really no place for these foods on the My Plate, but they are just fine for an occasional treat.


When planning a healthy meal, all of the food groups of the My Plate should be considered.  They each contain key nutrients, and without the balance, our body will not be getting what it needs from our food. 


Foods in the fruit group contain Vitamin C (among other nutrients) that helps to keep us healthy, and heal our body more quickly when we do get sick or injured.  Foods in the vegetable group tend to be high in Vitamin A, which helps our eyes to adjust in different lights as well as protein which supports our muscles, including one very significant muscle, our heart. 


The grain group is high in B vitamins, and when you choose whole grains, you are also getting additional benefits such as fiber.  The protein foods group contains protein, of course, and is also high in iron and zinc.  Iron helps to carry oxygen through our blood to all of our cells while zinc aids in healing sores and keeping our immune system strong.  When choosing protein sources, be mindful that they are low in saturated fat.  Avoid protein shakes, powders, and supplements as they oftentimes over do the amount of protein we need and can have unwanted ingredients mixed with them.  The final group is dairy, which is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps our body to absorb calcium, which is known to grow strong bones, and keep them healthy throughout our lifetime, assuming we consume enough servings on a regular basis. 


Here is a recipe for herb broiled beef.  It is a perfect addition to a well-balanced meal.  Enjoy!


Herb Broiled Beef


  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • basil, dried (or thyme) (1/4 teaspoon, optional (analyzed using basil))
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder steak, cut 1-inch thick

Directions: Mix onion, parsley, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder and basil or thyme.  Place meat in plastic bag and pour in marinade.  Close bag securely, place in a bowl and marinate in refrigerator six to eight hours or overnight, turning at least once.  Pour off marinade and discard. Place meat on rack in broiler.  Broil 15 to 20 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once.  Cut into thin slices to serve.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 330 calories, 8 gram of fat, 65 mg of sodium, 2 carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 31 grams of protein. 



  • NDSU Extension Service, On the Move to Stronger Bodies, 2017
  • Missouri Nutrition Network, Eat for Health Toolkit
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.