Up At The Plate: A New USDA Icon

The well-known pyramid guide to healthy eating is out, and a dinner plate icon sliced up by food groups is in.  Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama helped unveil the USDA’s  new and improved food pyramid, which is actually a plate, that will be used as part of her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity.  The new MyPlate icon, which includes colored sections for grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables and a dairy cup beside it, is part of the administration’s push to encourage healthy habits.

Thumbs Up For:

  • The new icon offers a clearer visual of a healthy plate.
  • It is extremely easy to understand.
  • It discourages oversized portions.
  • Vegetables comprise the largest sector.
  • Collectively, fruits and vegetables are half the plate.
  • It’s a nice departure from previous USDA icons (which you can see here) that mostly emphasize the importance of meat and dairy foods.
  • Dairy foods appear as an optional group off to the side.

Thumbs Down For: The vague protein quadrant

  • Protein is a nutrient, not a food. 
  • It doesn’t differentiate between meat, beans, poultry and fish, all of which the body metabolize and react to quite differently.
  • Protein isn’t exactly lacking in the typical American diet, if anything it is over-consumed. 
  • Grains and dairy, each with their own section, also contain a healthy dose of protein.

What do you think?


One thought on “Up At The Plate: A New USDA Icon

  1. The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization, published guidelines that can effectively be represented in a food pyramid relating to objectives to prevent obesity, chronic diseases and dental caries based on meta-analysis though they represent it as a table rather than a “pyramid”…

    My very own blog page

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