Over the years, we’ve used a variety of tools to determine what and how much we should eat. Now, the United States Department of Agriculture has introduced a new way for us to be more nutrition savvy – and it starts with your plate!
The USDA recently unveiled MyPlate as the new icon of what a healthy meal looks like. MyPlate focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy. This replaces MyPyramid, introduced in 2005, which was derived from the Food Pyramid of years past. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which became available in January this year, provides the foundation for the federal government’s nutrition education initiatives, nutrition assistance and dietary advice from health professionals. The Guidelines message includes:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less
- Avoid oversized portions
Foods to Increase
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
- Make at least half your grains whole grains
Foods to Reduce
- Compare sodium (salt) in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals, and choose foods with lower numbers.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Specific food groups are still an important element of a healthy diet, but now there is a focus on eating whole grains, a variety of veggies and fresh fruits, calcium and lean sources of protein. USDA officials are touting MyPlate as an uncomplicated symbol to remind people to think more about their meal choices to promote a healthier life. To learn more about the new MyPlate recommendations from the USDA, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.