Today was a big day for nutrition! First lady Michelle Obama teamed up with the USDA to release the new icon that would replace the ever familiar Food Guide Pyramid. Although the pyramid has changed a little over time (the latest My Pyramid was more personalized), recommendations have long changed since 1992 when it was first released. Today it was switched to a much simpler icon that we can all relate to – a plate.
I think the model is much easier to understand, and people can relate to it more. Most people will not keep track of daily servings, so this will be simple to think about when sitting down for a meal. If you can remember, I discussed a similar image in a blog post during National Nutrition Month. I actually learned this visual during my internship. The dietitian that I worked with at a Texas WIC clinic would show it to the kids, and I loved the idea!
The concept is very easy for both adults and children to understand. Although MyPlate.gov does break down serving sizes, just glancing at the plate gives an idea. And there’s no separate icon for kids either, it’s the same concept for all! So what are the key messages to take away from this new icon?
- Enjoy your food, eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
Foods to Increase
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Switch 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.
Although the icon includes a dairy, keep in mind that children only need two milk servings daily, and adults need three. And although the dairy group does offer calcium fortified soy beverages, I suspect that many vegans can argue that one doesn’t need dairy to reach the calcium recommendation.
Overall, I think that MyPlate is a definite move in the right direction. There’s a focus on plants now-mostly fruits and vegetables. Grains and proteins are almost seen as side items now. This is a great interpretation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. You may notice that the plate doesn’t include added fats and sugars, unlike the little yellow sliver on the MyPyramid. Personally, I’m happy to say goodbye to the dreaded pyramid!
Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information on this new change.