On June 2, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate. This new diagram will replace the USDA’s past guides for nutritional intake, the Food Pyramid. MyPlate serves as a quick reminder about what types of foods should be occupying our plates per meal, not per day. MyPlate is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and is an uncomplicated visual reminding us to make half our plates fruits and vegetables and the other half whole grains and lean proteins; the ‘plate’ is also accompanied by a smaller circle representing fat-free or low-fat dairy to complete a well-balanced meal.
In a press release for the announcement of this new initiative First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating, and as a mom I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country. When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew; so it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”
The disturbing trend of increasing childhood obesity in the United States and children not receiving the proper nutrition has been blamed in part on our culture of fast food eating, so what effect will this new initiative have on restaurant business? The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has been named a strategic partner with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy on spreading the word about MyPlate. The NRA, who applauds the effort to create MyPlate, recently launched its Kids Live Well program which is also consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and on track with MyPlate.
So whether you are eating at home or dining out, MyPlate is an easy reference tool to improve the quality of your diet. The USDA would like to see how you’re turning MyPlate into “your plate” by encouraging Americans to take a photo of their plates and share on Twitter with the hash-tag #MyPlate. What’s on your plate today?
- USDA Replaces Food Pyramid With Dinner Plate (fitsugar.com)
- Dinner plate replaces the USDA Nutrition Pyramid (timesunion.com)
- Is the USDA’s New Food Plate Better Than the Pyramid? (fitsugar.com)
- USDA trades a pyramid for a plate (kimatrest.wordpress.com)