This Article is About
eating whole grains
healthy balanced diet
sodium intake
food choice
serving sizes
food options
My Plate
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My Plate

Until recently, the USDA has made food recommendations using the Food Pyramid, a guide shaped in the form of a pyramid depicting serving sizes of each main food group; carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, oils, dairy and meat and beans. The first Food Pyramid was published in Sweden in 1974, but the Food Pyramid we recognize today was created in 1992 and updated in 2005 and was re-named My Pyramid.

Over the years nutritional experts have had different opinions of the Food Pyramid, and many came to the conclusion that it did not best reflect the latest research on a healthy, balanced diet. Some claim that the Food Pyramid suggested serving sizes of dairy and meat that were too large, making those who followed it at risk for heart disease and obesity. They also argue that the Pyramid lacked variation in the protein category. The Pyramid was also unsuited for anyone following a vegetarian or vegan diet plan.

On June 2, 2011, the USDA launched the new food icon called My Plate, which follows the 2010 dietary guidelines.

Where My Pyramid was said to be abstract and confusing, dietitions and nutritional experts seem to agree that the new My Plate icon is easier to read and follow, and will help propel North America into a healthier eating lifestyle.

My Plate divides meals into sections broken up into 20% protein, 20% fruit, 30% grains, 3-% vegetables and a small amount of dairy, such as one glass of milk of a cup of yogurt. My Plate not only gives you portion size suggestions, it also gives you food choice suggestions, for example choosing skim milk over 1% milk or eating whole grains.

Something My Plate offers that the Pyramid did not is also sugar and and sodium intake suggestions. Today there are thousands of pre-packed and fast food options that are loaded with fat, sodium, sugar and carbohydrates, and it is vital for people to learn that these foods are just not a healthy choice and provide zero nutritional value. Many pre-packed foods hide the high levels of sodium and sugar, so it is important to read labels and be an informed shopper.

My Plate also explains how to balance calories, how to avoid oversized portions, what foods to increase in your diet and what foods to decrease, and what foods to eliminate all together. They offer a website with interactive tools, tips and resources and printable materials to make understanding and using My Plate simple and easy for everyone.

Knowledge is the first step to healthy eating and living, and the updated USDA My Plate icon is giving us all the chance to get educated in order to start taking control of our own lives and living a healthy, nutritous lifestyle!


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