MyPlate: A Nutrition Educator's Perspective
Goodbye, Food Guide Pyramid. Mr. Pyramid, you've had a good run, but your place is now inside the history books - we appreciate your efforts in keeping Americans healthy. There's a new graphic in town that's gonna try to improve on your healthy diet messaging.
Well, I'm hear Kingsville, Texas on a very interesting food investigation (future post!) so I was unable to join the news conference yesterday on the unveiling of the new USDA's MyPlate, which is the new icon that replaces the MyPyramid graphic.
The MyPlate was rolled out with the intention of educating the new 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines (just like the MyPyramid attempted in the past guidelines). The key messages here are:
|Introducing MyPlate - the USDA MyPyramid replacement.|
- Enjoy your food but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make at least half of your grains whole
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1% milk)
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ? and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
PROS: The MyPlate graphic reminds me of the Idaho Plate Method that has been out for years. In the past, I have used it with my adult weight management patients and it works very well. In fact, I used to give out compartment plates to them so they could practice loading their plate appropriately. This visual helped patients not only eat the right types of foods, but give them an idea of portion size for each food group. So this MyPlate visual is something I really appreciate as a clinician, and one that I believe will translate better to consumers.
I also like how the USDA has produced some printable aids that further allow consumers to understand and put the MyPlate into practice. Their Let's Eat For the Health of It provides practical tips that families can use. The 10 Tip Series is an educational set that delves deeper into the key messages of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. They can be viewed online or printed for future reference. I am pleased that the Get a Personalized Plan feature was not pulled off the new website, which is now http://www.choosemyplate.com/. I used this feature with the old MyPyramid plan and it really helps people see how much of each food group they need for proper nutrition. This personalized information can be integrated into the new graphic as well.
Filed Under: MyPlate, USDA Guidelines