Food Pyramid Becomes Food Plate

The food pyramid that so many grew up with is no more.  The food plate, which was released this week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is the new food pyramid on the block, but it’s not a food pyramid now.

When you look at the food plate you will most likely experience two things.  First, you will appreciate its simplicity.  Then, you will wonder if it is too simple.  The picture is easy to consume.  Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and split the other half between grains (whole grains preferred) and protein (lean protein preferred).  If you’re not drinking water, have a glass of fat free or low-fat milk.  Pretty simple.

Here are the three main talking points of the USDA food plate with some food for thought from us.

USDA Food Plate Talking Points

We agree that you should enjoy your food and that the best way to lose weight is to work some of your favorites in as part of a healthy diet.  Avoiding over-sized portions is common sense but you are the one who has to understand the calories you are consuming and  how you lose or gain a pound to make it work.

Making half of your plate fruits and vegetables is much easier than trying to figure out how many cups of these things you are consuming.  The fat-free or low-fat milk on the side also makes this food plate much easier to follow, of course your dairy might be something other than milk so you’ll need to take that into account.  Also, it will still be tough to know how many whole grains are on your plate, especially away from home, but controlling the portion size is a good start.

As for reducing your sodium and replacing things like soda with water, that is just common sense, and the image of the food plate really doesn’t convey this message, but you should do it anyway.

All in all, the new food plate is a better guideline for everyone to follow than the old food groups because you can visualize the picture in your head at every meal, even when you are out at a restaurant.

So, what have we learned? The food plate is the new food pyramid. Try to visualize your plate split with 50% fruits and vegetables and the other half split between grains and protein. Watch out for portion size – know your calories. Make milk fat-free or low fat, eat whole grains, eat lean protein, and lower sodium intake. Always drink plenty of water. By taking these steps you can easily make the new food plate guidelines work well for you.

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