Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello ‘MyPlate’!

By Emily Murray

Most of us can still recall sitting in a classroom or maybe even reading the side of a cereal box and seeing the iconic food pyramid. We were told that this was the basis of how proper nutrition should work for our bodies and to our chagrin, most of our favorite sweets fell into the smallest section of the pyramid. With the obesity rate ever-growing, politicians and the FDA have stepped up to the plate (pun intended) and have changed the model for how America looks at food.

Image from USDA

This new change has been in the works for months, but was officially announced by the FDA today – the pyramid is out and the plate is in!

As restaurant portions increase in size and fast food sales see no decline, many Americans have proven that they are out of tune with their own nutritional needs. This new plate graphic consists of 4 different color sections and one side plate or cup that represent each food group.

The hope is that people will be able to relate these suggested portions more directly to their diet when they can visualize the plate in front of them. Of course the size of the plate is important as well. Many nutritionists recommend using a salad plate rather than a larger dinner plate in order to get the portion size right.

While many people may think they are getting enough fiber in their diet, it’s easy to forget that fruits and veggies are rich in this and other health promoting substances. It may come as a shock to many in the nation to realize that fruits and vegetables should be taking up one whole side of the plate.

Aside from keeping your body at a healthy weight, these portions also allow you to get the most optimal amount of nutrition to keep your whole body preforming at it’s peak. Many vitamins found in fruits and vegetables are also known to help ward off certain types of cancers.

The food pyramid has been in existence for 2 decades and naturally, things have changes since then. Many nutritionists and other experts not only found the pyramid to be a bit confusing, but also misleading and difficult for the average person to apply to their daily lives.

Of course, there are other recommendations for healthy nutrition and living that can’t be put on a plate. The importance of exercise and portion size cannot be overlooked. Exercising at least 3 to 4 times a week is helpful for those who eat well and would like to stay in top condition. Whether it’s a half hour walk, a jog or a swim, getting the blood pumping and the calories burning is one sure way to help the body process the healthy parts of food without packing on the pounds.