Health teachers and school cafeterias in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona are still adjusting to the bombshell news offered up by First Lady Michelle Obama recently: the food pyramid no longer exists. First introduced back in 1992, the previous food pyramid was intent on educating the nation’s youth about healthy eating habits. The basis of the food pyramid was a graphic that represented the recommended number of servings for each food group per day. Unfortunately, the food pyramid wasn’t as well balanced as it could have been. It’s no wonder obesity and heart disease are a problem, especially considering the food pyramid’s instructions to eat 6-11 servings of carbs each day.
It seems as though the balancing act that was the food pyramid has been recognized for what it was: flawed. Instead, the USDA has introduced an even simpler graphic to represent what people should be eating. It’s called MyPlate. MyPlate reduces words to a bare minimum and gives a very clear suggestion of what each person should be eating at each meal in a pie graph form. Instead of thinking about how many servings of each food group you’ve eaten each day, MyPlate gives you a visual of what your plate should look like at each meal using proportions.
Vegetables and fruits represent half of MyPlate. Grains make up a little more than half of the remaining 50% of the plate, with protein taking up the rest. Dairy is represented by a glass near the upper right hand corner of the plate. While the proportions of MyPlate are healthier, the graphic leaves out some important information. Fat and salt are no longer represented, and the size of the plate isn’t discussed, meaning people may take liberties with the size of their meals.
The changes set forth by MyPlate are a step forward in helping people across the US to lose weight — if they eat reasonable portions and watch their fat intake. On the other hand, if people take liberties with plate and portion size, no real changes will come. Only time will tell if MyPlate has an effect on the size of waistlines across the country.