Think “MyPlate” for Healthy Eating

Nancy Copperman, RD

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced a new graphic, MyPlate, to help Americans follow the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines. The Dietary Guidelines are issued and updated every 5 years by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice for Americans ages 2 and older about consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active to attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

MyPlate replaces the familiar Food Pyramid that many of us have seen on food packaging and posters. MyPlate is a picture of a plate divided into protein, fruit, vegetables and grains portions accompanied by a serving of dairy. Every time we serve our food onto a plate at mealtime for ourselves and families, we can try to recreate the MyPlate foods and portion sizes.

MyPlate emphasizes:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Compare sodium in food like soup, bread, and frozen meals, and choose food with lower sodium content.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
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