Spinach and Cilantro Quesadillas (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

How purple, green, orange, red and blue has YourPlate been since the first lady unveiled MyPlate this month?

It’s simple enough to follow, she said, and the government’s move to kick the 19-year-old Food Pyramid out the door is widely seen as shrewd.

If we were pairing whines with MyPlate, you’d hear: But we’re on the edge of summer vacation. It seems like a lot of effort each day to make sure we fill those colored wedges with the five food groups they represent. The more literal-minded of us find it tough to think past the segmented approach. (We agree, Marion Nestle, that the protein wedge is more complicated than it appears.)

What we could use is a kind of travel agent for eating, to help us get where we ought to go.

That’s why we asked four Washington area nutrition experts to translate MyPlate into a jumping-off point: a day’s worth of meals that we might repeat once during the week. We would get into a groove by September.

Each professional aimed at a representative sector of the general public: an 11-year-old boy, a 24-year-old woman, a 45-year-old man and someone, say, old enough to qualify for discounted movie tickets. With balance in mind and simple recipes to boot, the pros’ plans make sense.

Follow the one that suits you, and it could be the start of a healthful journey.


Lemon-Pepper Barley Pilaf

Spinach and Cilantro Quesadillas

Salmon in a Mustard Seed Crust

Broccoli, Ginger and Cashew Stir-Fry