June 2nd, 2011
This morning, the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new food icon. Not a new food pyramid. A whole new image that will replace the pyramid called My Plate. The icon—a plate divided into 4 sections for vegetables, fruit, grains and protein with a side for dairy—is designed as a quick visual reference that cues smart food choices in the context it matters most — on your plate.
A quick glance at the new icon suggests that your plate should be covered mostly with vegetables and grains, with less protein and fruit and a small side of dairy. Another way to look at it is that half of your plate should be full with fruits and vegetables (more vegetables) and the other half with whole grains and lean protein (more grains), all served with a small side of dairy. However you look at it, it’s a step in the more helpful direction. After all, as Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian and nutrition blogger for USA Today, put it, “We eat on plates, not pyramids. This is a graphic that everyone can relate to and visualize.”
I’ve already heard complaints about My Plate and there are plenty of “that’s not enough” grumblings. Perhaps not. Our food system is certainly broken in many places throughout. But, I’ve got to say, I think that this is a good one. Graphic representations are meant to communicate a message quickly and in a compelling and easy-to-understand way. The food pyramid did not do that, but I think that My Plate just might.
What do you think?
Find out more about My Plate on ChooseMyPlate.gov