My Plate replaces USDA Food Pyramid
By: James Rogers, M.D.
For nearly two decades, we’ve looked to the food pyramid to help us eat healthy. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is replacing the triangular pyramid with a round symbol known as “My Plate.”
The idea of My Plate is simple: its shape corresponds to a dinner plate and is divided into quadrants to help people know what should be on their plates when they sit down to eat a meal. The quadrants are designated as fruits, vegetables, protein and grains. A smaller circle, representing a glass of milk and overall dairy consumption, sits outside the larger plate.
The new concept was created to be a visual cue for diners and is part of the updated USDA Dietary Guidelines, which are put in place to help Americans make healthier food choices and confront the obesity epidemic. The guidelines, which are updated every five years, state that currently in the United States, the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese.
The My Plate symbol doesn’t provide a specific number of servings or calorie suggestion, because every person has different nutritional needs, based on age, health and other factors.
Suggestions pertaining to My Plate food quadrants include:
Fruits and vegetables
Vary the types and colors of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
The new USDA guidelines provide additional tips for consumers. Some of these are:
Balance calories by focusing on enjoying food while eating less. The guidelines advise to avoid oversized portions.
Read the labels and compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals. Choose the foods with the lower numbers.
Decrease intake of sugary drinks, and opt instead for water.
The newest dietary guidelines and the My Plate symbol were created to aid consumers in choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle. For more information on the guidelines or to get information specific to your specific situation, visit the My Plate website at: www.choosemyplate.gov.
|Dr. Rogers is a board certified family practice physician at Raiter Clinic.|