The USDA kicked the outdated food pyramid to the curb today and replaced it with a new symbol, a plate. Michelle Obama along with the Secretary of Agriculture and Surgeon General revealed the new food icon this morning in Washington D.C. Designed to be a simpler representation of what healthy eating should look like, MyPlate is supposed to remind Americans to eat healthier more balanced meals.
Most dietitians that I spoke with today were excited that the new food icon represents what many dietitians have been doing for years, showing clients what a balanced meal on a plate looks like. Everyone agreed that MyPlate is an improvement over the food pyramid, especially the most recent one pictured to the right.
Questions remain though, such as where does exercise fit in and what about excess sugars and sweets?
My biggest question: Does anyone outside of the nutrition world care about this?
My concern is always about the practical application of nutrition information, so I went straight to Twitter and Facebook to ask that question.
Some people said that MyPlate is too oversimplified,
while others touted the value of simplicity.
Whatever you think of the new food icon, it is clear that education must accompany the picture. Parents and children need to be educated about what a serving of “protein” looks like and how to include whole grains. Basic cooking skills need to be taught at all ages, along with how to shop for healthy foods at the grocery store. Without further education, MyPlate is just a pretty picture.
MyPlate also brings back up the troubling issue of food deserts. How do families who live nowhere near a grocery store selling fruits and vegetables follow these guidelines? If the government is going to tell people to fill half of their plate with fresh produce, will they also be making sure that fruits and vegetables are available to these urban areas?
There are many positives and negatives that come out of an announcement like the new MyPlate, but to keep it simple, I think that the plate is an improvement over the pyramid. To find our more about MyPlate, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
What do you think? Do you like the new food icon? Do you think it will make a difference? Do you like the simplicity or do you think it’s too simple? Chime in with your thoughts!
Thanks to Janet Helm for organizing this list of blogs written by RDs about the new MyPlate: