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 entrées as the “center of the plate.”
Using frozen prepared foods as the foundation of a meal has many advantages. A frozen entrée can be just as nutritious a homemade one. Likewise, frozen entrées can help reduce food waste by not preparing more than you need. Additionally, frozen foods help consumers know what’s on their plate. Frozen entrées 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 entrée 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, Nestlé 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 Nestlé 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 favorite 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, Nestlé is providing these experts a comprehensive “Balance Your Plate” toolkit to use when counseling consumers.
Combining Frozen with Fresh
Frozen, ready-made entrées are extremely popular in the U.S. However, the Nestlé USA/Harris poll revealed that when eating frozen entrées, only one-third of those eating occasions are supplemented with other foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains or dairy.
Furthermore, 77% of frozen food users reported they believe frozen entrées represent a balanced meal providing several food groups. While many frozen meals do feature components from several food groups, the amounts vary and may not always provide full servings.
“A key benefit of the “Balance Your Plate” program is that it promotes greater nutrient density with every meal,” said Chavanne Hanson, MPH, RD, LD and Wellness Champion for Nestlé USA. “Our aim is to show the public how easy it can be to add more fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.”
Hanson continued: “This commitment to balanced nutrition extends to our new product lines too. Concepts like LEAN CUISINE® Salad Additions™ were created to increase consumption of vegetables, while still giving consumers great taste and convenience.”
LEAN CUISINE® Salad Additions™ feature premium ingredients such as warm grilled white meat chicken, crisp vegetables, chilled culinary-inspired dressings and satisfyingly crunchy toppings. Consumers then complete the dish by adding their favorite salad greens.
Nestlé’s Commitment to Balanced Nutrition
As the world’s leading food company, Nestlé is committed to continually improving its products to provide better tasting, more nutritious choices for consumers. Frozen, ready-made entrée are a source of pride for Nestlé. The company works closely with trusted farmers, growers and ranchers to ensure only the finest produce, meat, dairy and grains are used in Nestlé foods.
Nestlé cooks prepare a wide variety of frozen dishes with care, making key ingredients – like pasta for our iconic lasagna or macaroni and cheese – from scratch. Then they freeze the food to help lock in nutrients and provide convenience for easy enjoyment at home or at work. It’s the same process that consumers use at home and, in most cases, freezing eliminates the need to use preservatives. The result is a consistently high-quality, delicious and nutritious main dish.
The company also works continually to improve the nutritional profiles of its products by featuring positive nutrients such as whole grains, calcium, Omega-3s and antioxidants and by reducing public health sensitive nutrients like fat and sodium. In October 2010, Nestlé USA announced a comprehensive plan to decrease the sodium content in many of its frozen products by another 10 percent by the year 2015.
The company will continue to strive for leadership in consumer education with an increased focus on “front-of-package” nutritional information that complements the standard nutrition labeling and the proprietary Nestlé Nutritional Compass, which appears on product packaging representing 98% of total Nestlé sales volume around the world. The Compass further guides consumers about relevant ingredient, nutrition and wellness information.
Nestlé supports various health and wellness campaigns and is a proud member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a coalition of more than 100 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, non-governmental organizations and professional sports organizations assembled to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015.
For more information on Nestlé’s commitment to “Good Food, Good Life,” or on any of the products mentioned, please visit www.nestleusa.com.
About the Survey
The Harris survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of FoodMinds and Nestlé among 2,213 adults ages 18 and older. The results reflect respondents age 21+, who are grocery decision makers, and who prepare meals for their household (n=1,512). Research was conducted February 21-25, 2013.
About Nestlé USA
Named one of “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for sixteen consecutive years, Nestlé provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with Lean Cuisine® to baking traditions with Nestlé® Toll House®, Nestlé USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that make good living possible. That’s what “Nestlé. Good Food, Good Life” is all about. Nestlé USA, with 2012 sales of $10 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2012 sales of $98 billion. For product news and information, visit Nestleusa.com or Facebook.com/NestleUSA.
Nestlé Prepared Foods Company
MSLGROUP for Nestlé USA
MSLGROUP for Nestlé USA