Food Pyramid Becomes a Food Plate
Today, the US Department of Agriculture revealed the food plate as the new icon of dietary guidelines in this country. It replaces the 19-year-old food pyramid with five color-coded categories: red for fruits, green for vegetables, orange for grains, purple for protein, and blue for dairy.
Dubbed "My Plate", the icon represents more than the currently recommended diet. It's part of a drastic change. The old plan was to provide information. The new plan is to actively change American eating behavior, using all the tools of modern persuasion.
First lady Michelle Obama praised My Plate at the news conferences as "a wonderful, kid-friendly tool" that's practical for busy families.
"What's more simple than a plate?" she asked. "I'm confident that families will find this useful. They can start using this today."
The new chart leaves out a couple of elements seen in recent year's on the pyramid: A small separate category for fats and oils, and an image of a person climbing (on the old pyramid) to symbolize physical exercise alongside eating (did not even know he was there. Did you?) I like the new food plate. It's definitely much easier to understand than the food pyramid, which came with recommended serving sizes and serving amounts that can be a lot to keep track of on a daily basis. After all, who takes the time to measure out their vegetable or protein servings? No one. People just eat what's one their plate. So, with the food plate, you know you're doing the right thing as long as half of what you're eating each day is fruits and veggies. The visual representation is simply easier to calibrate to your personal diet than the old icon.
To help folks along in keeping up with these dietary guidelines and applying them to their own diets, the USDA will launch a suite of interactive web-based tools in the fall, including:
- Daily, personalized food plans.
- Daily food plans for kids and preschoolers.
- Daily food plans for new mothers and pregnant women.
- MyFoodapedia: information on food groups, calories, and food comparisons.
- Food Tracker: feedback on your food intake and physical activity
- Food Planner: a tool to plan meals that will help you reach personal goals.