There’s an App for That! Using MyPlate Text Messaging!

We all know that making good food choices during college can be difficult. You are busy attending classes, working, completing homework or hanging out with friends. Before you know it you have put on a little weight. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on tools to help you make better food choices and help reduce the weight gain commonly seen during the college years. MyPlate is developing a free service that allows you to receive texts that provide helpful dietary information:

  • Food group recognition. The text messages can help you remember to balance your plate with fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and dairy.
  • Balanced food intake. Texts can provide information regarding the number of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight given your physical and social characteristics.
  • Portion control. Are you hungry? Are you full? MyPlate can help you recognize when you have had enough to eat and avoid the pitfalls of the HUGE portions generally served. Hints on managing portions are also available (e.g. use smaller dishes in order to fool yourself into eating less).
  • Hydration. It is important to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and increase water. Daily reminders can help you remember to drink plenty of fluids, while avoiding the calories and sugar consumed in flavored drinks.


Onikia, N., Brown, L.E., O’Connor, B.S., & Savaiano, D. (2014). Mobile MyPlate: A pilot study using text messaging to provide nutrition

education and promote better dietary choices in college students. Journal of American College Health, 62(5), 320-327, doi:



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