The Food Pyramid Tumbles,The Healthy MyPlate Debuts

By:  BU’s Joan Salge Blake (@joansalgeblake,

While the Food Pyramid had close to a 20 year run, it’s time has come. As a registered dietitian and nutrition professor, I can honestly say that the Pyramid left me scratching my head as it did little to help the public translate healthy eating onto their plate.

Enter the latest graphic symbol of nutrition advice, MyPlate, released today by the USDA to visually help Americans translate the science-based, 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans into their everyday life.

The new MyPlate is a dinner plate split into multiple sections, each representing not only a different type of food but also the relative proportion that these foods should dominate your diet. At a blink of an eye, you will now see that half of your plate should be devoted to waist- and heart-friendly vegetables and fruit with a smaller portion for whole grains and lean protein foods such as fish, skinless poultry, and lean meats. The circle shape next to the plate is a visual reminder to make sure that non fat and low fat dairy foods such as milk are not forgotten at mealtime.

With over 65 percent of Americans overweight, this visual shift of foods on your plate can make a dramatic effect on your calorie intake. Devoting more than half of the surface of the plate to low calorie vegetables will crowd out higher calorie grains and protein foods, potentially cutting over 100 calories from your dinner.

There at also 7 important nutrition messages that accompany the new MyPlate:

Balancing Calories
● Enjoy your food, but eat less.
● Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase
● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
● Make at least half your grains whole grains.
● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce
● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods
with lower numbers.
● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Goodbye, Food Pyramid. Mangia to the new MyPlate.

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