USDA Food Plate: The New “Pyramid”

June 14, 2011

Just when we'd gotten the hang of the Food Pyramid, the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama pull a switcheroo and replace the pyramid with a plate. Here's what you need to know about the plate and the new healthy eating guidelines.


We know Americans are lousy at eating their vegetables, no matter how many nutritionists and diet books sing their praises. French fries are still the number 1 eaten “vegetable.” But get ready to be reminded a little more.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama, just released a dinner plate as the new icon and dietary guidelines to replace the Food Pyramid. MyPlate is a large circle representing a dinner dish, divided to show that fruits and vegetables should make up half the food consumed, with protein and grains sharing the other half. A small blue circle representing low-fat or nonfat dairy rests to the side. There is no place on this plate for junk food.

No doubt there will be lots of criticism of the new promotion, but we like it much better. It reminds us of the four food groups. Remember those? Here are the basic guidelines.

Balancing Calories: Enjoy your food, but eat less. Avoid oversized portions.     

Foods to Increase: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Make at least half your grains whole grains and wwitch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.     

Foods to Reduce: Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals―and choose the foods with lower numbers. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. 

—By Jill Melton, Editor


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