The food pyramid has long been a symbol of how much of what foods we should eat, as well as what foods to avoid. Though it looks relatively simple, further investigation reveals it’s not as straightforward as it could be. For this reason, the USDA recently announced the replacement of the traditional food pyramid with an easy-to-read plate model. A typical dinner plate is broken down into the five food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and dairy—with each section being a fraction of the dinner plate. The goal is to allow an individual to enjoy their food while concentrating on portion control which, as we know, can make or break healthy eating and dieting efforts.
But how does MyPlate differ from the pyramid we all grew up with? Bottom line: it makes things a lot more simple—and healthier too!
- Instead of a recommended number of servings per day, each food group can be broken down by portion size in an individual meal. Because it’s now a plate, you can easily look at the portions of say, dairy and grains, and know that a little less than a quarter of your plate should be healthy whole grains and the dairy equivalent of a glass of milk. This takes the guesswork out of servings and serving size, making it easy to follow and in the long run, healthier.
- The portion sizes of fruits and vegetables have also increased. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, rather than the recommended 3-5 fruit servings and 5-7 vegetable servings given by the food pyramid. This makes eyeballing your portions of the healthy stuff infinitely less complicated, and you’ll probably end up eating more this way too!
- The food plate has a simpler and more aesthetic appeal than the food pyramid. Looking at a plate, with easy-to-read portions of what you should eat at every meal, definitely trumps trying to study a food pyramid, with fine print in each category and suggested servings per day (without even telling you what a serving really is). It’s easy on the brain and on the eyes, which makes it easier for you—and your family—to get on the healthy eating bandwagon.
With these changes to the food pyramid, you can finally stop making excuses for not eating as healthy as you should be. Your body—both physically and mentally—will thank you.