What’s On Your Plate?
The food pyramid is now part of our history! This morning was the long-awaited unveiling of its replacement. Well, long-awaited by me anyway. As a teacher of nutrition, I was not a big fan of “MyPyramid.” This morning the triangular shape was replaced with a drawing of a table setting including a plate and cup of milk. The plate is divided into four, easy to understand, sections representing the relative amounts of different foods that should be in our diet.
I will be spending more time looking at the revised website, www.choosemyplate.gov but from what I have seen so far, I like it. The basic concept as I see it is this: Half of what you eat should be fruits and vegetables, with a slight edge to vegetables. Protein foods (which is what most people think of as meats) should be a little less than a fourth of what we eat in a day.
Is this new replacement big news? In a way, it is not. Really, much of this was in the previous food guides we have had over the years. But every year I survey my students about the amounts of fruits and vegetables they consume. Consistently over many years, the vast majority of my students in the Food & Fitness classes that I teach consume almost no fruit on any given day and maybe a little bit of a vegetable – usually in the form of French fries. So in essence to say “half of what you eat should be a fruit or vegetable” should be easy to remember and I believe much more useful than the vertical strips on the old food pyramid.
Whether people will change their eating habits in response to this new food guidance remains to be seen. But at least it is some concrete guidance to at least begin the discussion of what a healthy diet should look like.