Big news today in the nutrition world, and twitter is certainly buzzing!
Do you remember the food pyramid? I’m sure you recall back in the day the icon with the bread on the bottom and the sweets at the top, and that you never paid any attention to it. In recent years, the food pyramid was updated to show the importance of physical activity but even for a nutrition expert/nerd like me, it was still confusing. And hard to explain.
So today, at a USDA press conference, the ever-fabulous Michelle Obama gave the kabosh on the pyramid and heralded in the food PLATE. And I, for one, am a fan.
As someone in the nutrition field, I think this is a huge step in the right direction. As I mentioned, the previous pyramid designs were so dang confusing and nobody understood them. Depicting food on a plate is something EVERYONE can relate to, understand, and more importantly, put into practice.
J’adore that half the plate is comprised of our phytonutrient friendly friends, fruits and vegetables. These are precisely the 2 food groups that Americans are not consuming enough of (we’re supposed to get 7 servings a day of F&V’s…Americans barely consume 2).
Me gusta that the plate shows only the general category of “protein.” This open interpretation means that a meal’s protein component can be legumes, beans, tofu, etc, and not just meat.
The new food plate also makes a better attempt at showing portion sizes, which is something i know everyone (including yours truly) struggles with. Look at the small protein triangle and notice it’s not half of your plate. And that the grains are sequestered to their quarter and do not encroach on the veggies.
The Choose My Plate website is super user friendly and offers 10 tips to increase fruit/vegetable intake, limit sugars, and choose lean cuts of meat. It also offers plenty of educational materials and interactive tools. You better believe I’ll be printing off this plate to show my clients how to eat a balanced, healthy meal.
So while the food plate is definitely a step in the right direction, it is up to nutrition experts, doctors, and dietitians to effectively explain to their clients exactly how to use these new guidelines and promote physical activity.
An icon is exactly that–an icon. Without proper education, it’s a useless tool. But I for one say Hip Hip Hooray to the food plate!
What are your thoughts??