• Ruth Capistrano, Alumni Writer; Paige Bell-Hamm

My "Osprey" Plate!

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

With our focus on Nutrition Month this March, let’s tackle a pertinent question: how exactly do we make sure to eat nutritionally balanced meals every time? The answer is simple: MyPlate. You may have seen MyPlate displays in the entryway of the library or the library’s second floor in front of the elevators. Instead of walking busily past it this time, let’s take a closer look and delve into what is MyPlate.

What is MyPlate?

MyPlate is a clear, easy-to-follow visual guide that can teach us how to create your own healthy, balanced meals! Using MyPlate’s simple guidelines makes it easier to meet the USDA nutrition recommendations for improving or maintaining our health. The basic run-down is this: make half of your plate fruits and vegetables—though don’t worry if some of your meals have half a plate of just vegetables, fruit makes an excellent snack between meals! An important aspect of fruits and vegetables is getting a variety of different kinds throughout the week. Remember our post about eating the rainbow? Click *here* for a refresher on why variety and color matters! A little more than ¼ of your plate should consist of grains, with at least 50% of those being whole-grains, like whole-wheat bread, tortillas, and pasta; brown rice; oatmeal; or even unique options like sorghum. The rest of your plate is for protein, which just like vegetables, should come from a variety of sources, such as grilled chicken, salmon, eggs, beans, nuts, or tofu! When selecting dairy and yogurt, opting for low-fat is recommended. For those who do not consume dairy, be sure to select calcium and vitamin D-fortified non-dairy alternatives.

For more information on a customized plate of exactly how much YOU should be eating for each food group, as well as other valuable tips, take a look at the resources at the end of the post!

My Osprey Plate So how does that look on the University of North Florida campus? Check these out for some inspiration!

Osprey Café: Pictured above is a real-life example of how you can mirror the MyPlate format. The middle plate is appropriately balanced with a fish fillet for protein; quinoa salad for grains; broccoli, peas, and carrots for vegetables; melons and pineapple for fruit; and strawberry yogurt for dairy. There is always a fresh salad and fruit bar at the Osprey Café. The café is also complete with various protein sources, whether it be chicken or beef burger patties at the grill station, or vegetarian options at the hot food station.

Boathouse: Enjoy the upcoming spring and summer days on the balcony overlooking campus or from the inside surrounded by exclusively sports-featured TVs. Menu choices that provide a food component from most, if not all food groups, are their burrito bowls and burgers, sandwiches, and wraps that offer a salad or fruit medley as a side. Featured below is the ‘Alumni Club,’ which includes turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sun-dried tomato cream cheese. -->

Pita Pit: Pita Pit is a great option for exploring vegetarian sources of protein, like hummus spreads and falafel wraps. Their customizable approach is conducive for a MyPlate-driven diet, giving you an unlimited variety of vegetables to choose from and pile on. The vegetables hidden inside the falafel wrap below are lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, green bell pepper, and banana pepper.


At Chop'd & Wrap'd, it’s easy to create MyOspreyPlate! Simply selected from their menu, such as the grilled caesar wrap or vegetarian greek with beans or tofu to enhance the protein or create your own wrap or salad that is loaded with veggies and has the option for whole grains any your choice of proteins. Add a cup of fruit on the side or extra fruit at breakfast, and you’ve got a perfectly balanced meal.

Salads are also a great option at ChicK-Fil-A on campus. One of our personal favorites is the Market Salad with grilled chicken that is already topped with fresh, juicy fruit. Any of their delicious sandwiches or wraps can be paired with a side salad, fruit cup, coleslaw, carrot raisin salad, or a greek yogurt parfait to help meet those MyPlate guidelines!

Believe it or not, you can create a ‘My Osprey Plate’ at Starbucks as well! Pair that latte with one of their protein boxes, such as the Cheese & Fruit Protein Box and other varieties featuring wraps and sandwiches or grab some more filing whole-grains with the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal Bowl. You can also find some veggies in the Spinach, Feta & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap!

Jamba Juice is another location on campus to add some fruits and vegetables to your food plan in the form of delicious and refreshing smoothies!

This wide array of campus eateries easily makes building your own My Osprey Plate not only feasible but most importantly, delicious. So, the next time you’re tempted to reach for that monotonous, one-note snack, opt for a more filling and balanced meal that gleans from every food group.

Show us your “My Osprey Plate!” by sharing a photo on Instagram and tagging @UNFdining and @OspreyDietitian with #MyOspreyPlate for a chance to be featured and maybe win Dining Dollars to fuel your day!

Stay Healthy, Ospreys!


My MyPlate Plan (personalized meal plan, based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level):


10 Tips for Eating Healthy in the Dining Hall:

Browse the resource page and find the following PDF name linked below.

Tip Sheet 26 Be Choosy in the Dining Hall

10 Tips for College Students to Stay Active:

Browse the resource page and find the following PDF name linked below.

Tip sheet 28 Stay Fit On Campus

#healthyeating #nutrition #myplate #OspreyCafe #pitapit #jambajuice #boathouse

UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224