Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet MyPlate: The USDA’s new nutrition icon

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,, 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.
-Carl H


Well, I really like this. I've been nuts about eating healthy for years now, but hell if I ever looked at the Food Pyramid to guide me. This plate visual is far more intuitive; it shows you at one quick glance how to balance your meals. Not to mention that I'm sure kids will find this much simpler and possibly even more fun than trying to memorize a pyramid in health class.

Does it change the way I used to eat or eat now? Probably not. I eat healthy and will do it no matter what type of "place or pyramid" is promoted now.

Eating healthy is very expensive. It is pretty bad that a bottle of pop is cheaper than a gallon of milk. Same with fresh fruits and veggies out of season. Mrs. Obama do you understand this yet? Re-creating the food pyramid is not going to stop obesity. More smoke and mirrors from the government.

i agree- the price of milk is outrageous not to mention fruits and vegetables. it's impossible to stay within our budget and eat a balanced meal three times a day. We live on my husbands disability but i also had money deducted from my 25 yrs of wrk and the gov denies my disabilty now saying my husband makes too much yet our family lives under the poverty level.