USDA Introduces My Plate, Replaces Food Pyramid

After almost 20 years of use, the food pyramid has been replaced by a new symbol – My Plate – the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this month.

First lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled the new icon for My Plate, which breaks down daily nutrition needs into five categories – grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy and protein.

My Plate aims to remove any confusion from the FDA’s updated dietary guidelines and present them in a simplified, easy to understand format. Emphasis is placed on fruits and vegetables, and gone are any mention of fats and oils.

“When it comes to eating, what’s more useful than a plate? More simple than a plate?” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “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 you how much this is going to help parents all across the country.”

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) commended the new icon, calling it an “innovative tool offering consumers helpful information about healthy eating.”

“The new USDA food graphic offers Americans a clear visual of a healthy plate,” says FMI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin, “representing the full spectrum of nutritious foods we all need in our diets. As FMI member companies seek to feed families and enrich lives, this new icon will serve supermarket shoppers as a vivid reminder of what to put in their shopping carts so that it will later become part of a well-balanced plate.”

The new www.choosemyplate.gov website also offers recipes, sample menus and other materials useful to consumers.

What do you think of the new My Plate? Does it portray the FDA’s dietary guidelines in an effective way?

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