You are here

MyPlate: The Food Pyramid's Replacement

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?