The United States Department of Agriculture recently introduced a new “easy to understand” nutritional diagram, making the classic Food Guide Pyramid a thing of the past.
Named MyPlate, the upgraded food icon, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, claims to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices.
Emphasizing the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups, MyPlate seeks to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times, the USDA revealed in a statement.
“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 how much this is going to help parents across the country,” the First Lady shared.
“When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew. So it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden.”
That’s how easy it is, she added.
MyPlate will replace MyPyramid as the government’s primary food group symbol. The USDA hopes that the easy-to-understand visual cue will help consumers adopt healthier eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was launched at the beginning of the year.
The guidelines, which was based on the federal government’s nutrition education programs, federal nutrition assistance programs, and dietary advice provided by health and nutrition professionals, outline three major points: balance calories, foods to increase, and foods to reduce.
Some regulations include advice like enjoy your food, but eat less; make half your plate fruits and vegetables; drink water instead of sugary drinks; and switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
The official MyPlate website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, will provide practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets.
Additionally resources and tools will also be available on the site, where people can get a personalized daily food plan – for everyone from moms to preschoolers – have quick access to food information, and track food consumption daily.
“With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal,” Secretary Vilsack expressed in the statement. “MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles.”
“This effort is about more than just giving information,” he concluded. “It is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”
The new chart is set to be the basis of a majority of diets in America, and over the next several years, the USDA announced their efforts to promote MyPlate as well as the concurrent website, alongside public and private partners and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.
A multi-year campaign calendar will focus on one action-prompting message at a time, starting with “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.”
“This new campaign calendar will help unify the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts and highlight one desired change for consumers at a time.”
As obesity is continuously on the rise, with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reporting that over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the USDA hopes to curb the statistics one portion, and plate, at a time.