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MyPlate: The Food Pyramid’s Replacement

Written on June 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by

Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern


Do you find the new eating diagram more helpful? (Image courtesy of the USDA)

Move over food pyramid! The United States Department of Agriculture has just recently introduced “MyPlate,” a completely redesigned version of the nutritional guide that has been promoted for the past 19 years. The USDA felt that the pyramid, though it had been updated and modified few times over the years (most recently as MyPyramid), was too complicated and confusing for the typical busy American lifestyle.

Enter the new icon: MyPlate is literally a picture of a plate separated into four different colored sections. The red and green pieces, which together take up half the plate, represent fruits and vegetables respectively. There is a larger orange section for grains, and a smaller purple portion for protein. A blue circle outside of the plate, a “glass”, designates a serving of dairy. Pretty simple!

So what’s the difference between this and the pyramid? The sweets, fats and oils category has been completely removed. And the “meats and beans” category is now just “protein,” which also includes legumes, nuts, fish and poultry.

MyPlate puts food consumption in proportion. In other words, half of the food you eat each day should be fruits and vegetables, while dairy and protein should make up a smaller part of your diet. The USDA also recommends that the majority of the carbohydrates you eat be whole grains.

While MyPlate is the new guideline for the country’s eating habits, the USDA noted that everyone’s body is different, and each person has different nutritional needs. MyPlate aims to be a flexible tool to help Americans make better choices when they sit down to eat.

Now tell us: What do you think of the new eating icon/guidelines?

  • Marijka Bosma

    Much healthier way to eat.

  • nicole

    More veggies, less grains. While grains are essential to a healthy diet America is too lazy and inactive to deserve that much of their plate devoted to grains. Only active people who play sports or exercise 5-6 days a week at a moderate to high intensity should eat that many grains, and even then it’s not at each and every meal.

  • linda witt livengood

    i like it!

  • http://www.earnthatbody.com Kim Strassmann Eagle

    It’s sad they removed the “fats”. Healthy fat is SUCH an important part of the diet. So many people believe they should not eat any fat. Our body needs fat to survive.

  • sarah

    Should be labeled “calcium”, not “dairy”. But otherwise, its a great improvement!

  • scottrod1974

    and to think it only cost 2 million dollars!! http://michellemalkin.com/2011/06/02/goodbye-food-pyramid/

  • Paul Goldman

    how about talking about eating little to no preservatives/processed food. That is severely lacking in national discussion. So many folks think they are eating healthily if something says low fat or low carb on the package. But these can h…ave tons of chemicals and fillers. The less ingredients the better! Your peanut butter label should read one ingredient- organic peanuts. Jif for example has 7 ingredients in it. Go organic/clean first before even discussing portion percentage

  • Christine

    I agree that fresh foods need to be addressed as a solution even packaged “diet foods” are loaded with sodium and preservatives. I also think the fat category is an essential it could be worded “healthy fats” most people don’t understand what that is. I think this or the old pyramid could work if people paid attention.

  • Jessica Turner

    I agree with some of the others. This is not an ideal image representation of what the American diet needs to be. Half of the plate needs to be vegetables. These ratios do not accurately depict a healthy diet and that is just disappointing.


  • Natasha

    Most healthy fats are found in one of the categories already on the plate. Ex. avocados are fruit, salmon and nuts fall under protein. It’s just a guide. Perfect? No, but definitely easier to understand than the previous one and meant to be a starting point for self-education. I think it’s a good starting point. It’s up to the individual to dig deeper.

  • Janet

    MyPlate only illustrates a lunch or dinner meal–it doesn’t help people decide what to eat for snacks or breakfast…and that’s where many of us get the bulk of calories.

  • http://SimplyKari.com/blog Kari

    I don’t really agree with it. I think there needs to be more protein, and yes we need healthy grains but not more than protein. Also, sadly many American’s don’t know the difference between healthy grains and processed “enriched” grains.

  • Karen

    Didn’t the pyramid address physical exercise which is now missing from the plate?

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  • Linde

    The food pyramid made more sense to me. It broke down the ideal diet into servings and sizes. This lopsided pie chart doesn’t indicate the quantity to be eaten and does not actually give one guidance in creating a balanced diet.

  • Mouse

    I for one think this is GREAT! Imean come on it`s pointing out what I knew all along it`s perfectly healthy for me to get a Big Mac so long as I also super-size my fries, get a lg strawberry shake (gotta cover the fruits ya know) so long as I swing by Dunkin donuts to finish off my lunch with a couple of donuts for dessert!!! (><)

    for any who may have missed it, the above passage was sarcasm.

    Granted I`ll give ya the old system had issues, but the majority of it`s issues stemmed from fad diet`s, PETA-idealists and really people just not bothering to read it or look at it anymore than they were looking at the types of food they were stuffing down their gullet. Yet I honestly believe that the U.S. is in store for yet another “growth spurt” under this knew … guide?

  • Kate

    The physical activity message has now been completely removed and these serving sizes and portions are not applicable to all. The person running the stairs was the symbol on their previous logo. These “experts” are unconsciously spreading the idea that if you diet well then activity is not needed at all to be “healthly.”

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