Forget the Pyramid, the new healthy eating symbol is the dinner plate. Last week, the United States Department of Food & Agriculture and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the new and improved MyPlate, replacing My Pyramid that had been used for the past 19 years.
Featuring four colored and labeled sections, the plate outlines the most effective way to divide up your plate with properly portioned areas for vegetables, grains, fruit, and protein. Off to the side, a little section is made for dairy, which should compliment your meal, not be the main focus. This new design encourages eaters to be more aware of what their daily meals actually consist of, providing a visual of what a plate should look like. First Lady Michelle Obama called the new symbol, “a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods we’re eating.”
However, not everyone is happy with this change. Chairman of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition Walter Willett said to the Los Angeles Times, “To make informed choices, people will need additional information. It really makes a difference whether the grains you eat are whole grains or refined grains. It makes a huge difference what kind of proteins are being consumed — to be healthy, we need to be replacing the meat with a mix of chicken, nuts and legumes.” Another issue with the plate icon is the lack of exercise depicted in the symbol, which is a main ingredient in living a healthy lifestyle. At the very least, the Pyramid showed a man walking up stairs, demonstrating how incorporating movement into your life is a must.
Despite its minor flaws, we like the new symbol because it makes eaters of all ages rethink their meals. Unlike MyPyramid, this new symbol offers the public a view of what to eat, literally. Instead of eating a plateful of chicken or steak, add a healthy balance of vegetables and fruit, along with whole grains, to get the most out of your meal. Will this symbol completely revolutionize our eating habits? Probably not but it can help us make moderate changes to our diet. Every small step helps!
What do you think about the new symbol? Will you use it for your daily meals? Or do you find it confusing?