If you haven’t seen it, MyPlate is the new food and nutrition icon that has replaced the 20-year-old food pyramid.
Essentially, it’s the food pyramid simplified. They’ve taken the same five food groups from the pyramid and arranged them so they’re easier to comprehend at a glance. After all, we don’t stack our food into a pyramid—the potatoes piled on the pork chop with the vegetables on top; we arrange our helpings side by side on plates. And that might be the primary objective here: to give people a relational, proper sense of portion size.
With the food pyramid, it was never particularly clear what was meant by an “individual serving.” The new visual of the plate provides a sense of servings without getting too bogged down about serving sizes. It seems that what’s important with the plate is that you see the size relationships between the five food groups. At a glance, you can see that vegetables and fruits should take up half the plate. You don’t have to know how many ounces are in a serving of broccoli to know that it should be a decent amount compared to the pork chop.
Of course, the MyPlate icon alone doesn’t tell the full story here. To dig deeper, you will need to look beyond the plate to the companion website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, which includes advice designed to help families build better, healthier diets. The website goes into detail about daily recommendations for each food group and includes lists of those foods to increase in your diet and those to reduce, plus there are tip sheets and other resources.
Here are some of the stand-out messages from the ChooseMyPlate website:
•Enjoy your food, but eat less.
•Avoid oversized portions.
•Make at least half your grains whole grains.
•Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose foods with lower numbers.
•Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Meanwhile, at Allrecipes, we’ve taken the MyPlate icon and broken it out into the five groups, offering recipe suggestions to help busy cooks create meals that work best for their families. We’ve also included some links to related articles for further reading.