It’s been one year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture took out the long standing Food Pyramid and replaced it with the colorful plate you see pictured above. In a country where obesity is an epidemic, this is a positive visual change that will only enhance the educational efforts of those trying to reverse this problem through education, and for those parents trying to find an easy way to communicate to their children what proper portions look like for each food group.
What you’ll notice is that vegetables and fruits make up half of the plate’s surface area, which is a key point to make with your kids when talking with them about a balanced meal.
Additionally, you’ll notice that the vegetable portion is slightly larger than the fruit portion – this is not by mistake – this is to visually show that we should all be eating a larger portion of vegetables compared to fruits.Â Grains and proteins make up the rest of the plate in smaller portions and then there is a glass of milk off to the side as your dairy.
What I like about this new visual representation is that it gives a more concrete look at how we should be portioning out specific food groups for each meal and as a parent, it offers an easier model to teach with when attempting to educate my children about balancing their diet so they can live a healthy life.
What I also love about the ChooseMyPlate.gov site is the ease of use and the great takeaways they offer in short, quick bits. Some of the information includes:
- A recommendation to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- A recommendation to make at least half of your grains whole grains
- Information on the difference between refined and whole grains and why whole grains are preferred
- A list of selection tips for proteins
- A list of selection tips for dairy products
- Answers to common questions for each food group on portion sizes, health benefits and/or implications, and the importance of consuming certain items.
Overall, the change from the traditional pyramid to the plate is a positive change. It’s a better method for communicating healthy eating and it’s something that will resonate in the minds of many as they sit inÂ restaurantsÂ or make their plates at home.
Interested in learning more or using this as a tool for learning in your home? Head to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov
What do you think about this change – is it a positive one? Will you use this as a tool in your home?