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New Food Guidelines

By on June 9, 2011

The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama recently joined the United States Department of Agriculture to unveil a new and improved food icon–gone is that pyramid with hierarchical food-guideline graphics, now we have the iconic dinner plate to symbolize food groups, portion sizes for a balanced diet.

MyPlate features four colored quadrants of varying sizes–fruits, veggies, protein and grains–and looks suspiciously like the ’80s memory game Simon. Personal note, I was a demon at the Simon game but i digress. The illustration also includes a small circular glass for dairy products. The new USDA food guidelines also urge folks to: Enjoy your food, but eat less; avoid oversized portions; and make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

“When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew. So it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is, said Mrs. Obama.”

This new version is another tool to make it easier for Americans to make healthier choices and acknowledge portion sizes in the midst of our nation’s obesity problem. Unlike the previous food-guide pyramid, choosemyplate.org outlines how many servings a person should consume based on factors like age, gender, weight and amount of daily exercise.

Some other notable inclusions on MyPlate include a section that outlines limiting empty calories–which include solid fats like butter and beef fat, and added sugars like soda or fruit-flavored juices–and a recommendation to eat 8 ounces of seafood per week. In this, the Information Age, we have new information to do better. And when you know better…well, you know the rest.

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