Time to Dish Out "MyPlate"

I always found the food pyramid confusing. Its shape ironically represents the massive portion of food the USDA doesn't want us, obese Americans, to consume. I understood the concept, but somehow the visual of a pyramid and food never clicked. It reminded me more of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs than a way to balance my nutrition. I also found it kind of ugly and outdated (Plus, which always annoyed me, the picture of "sweets" looked more like a herd of fireflies than something I'd be tempted to eat. What are you trying to pull, USDA?).

From what I've learned growing up, I always thought veggies and fruit were more important than a big helping of grains (and I don't think I have 6-11 servings of bread in 2 days). Plus, determining serving sizes are sometimes hard to calculate--especially when manufacturers try to trick us with packaging and clever marketing. I don't always have the time or patience to measure out my food and examine labels. And when I'm starving, I've already obtained a pre-meal snack before I even think about how many servings are in the heaping pile of pasta on my plate (which most likely represents the shape of the food pyramid above)-- I just wish I had a visual of how much grub I should eat per sitting.  Make it so, USDA.

And finally, the fairy food godmother answered our prayers!

Eureka! Above is what abolished the food pyramid. It makes sense, a picture of a plate divided into recommended nutritional servings. How cutting edge (note the sarcasm), but seriously this was a good move by the USDA. Not only does this provide a visual for individuals (especially kids), but also creates more attainable nutritional goals. I don't know about you, but the old pyramid just made me feel defeated and like a foodie failure. Thankfully, this new "myplate" gives me hope. I really do like the concept and new, concise design. Here's the USDA's reasoning for the switch (I got this from their Web site):

  • Balancing Calories
    • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
    • Avoid over-sized potions
  • 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
It's simple and to the point. I love it and think it's a great idea. It's like a guideline to healthy eating. My hope is that it'll motivate individuals to want to make healthier food choices, and know that it's not impossible to take small steps towards a better health (even if it's just substituting water for soda). You go, USDA, you go.



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