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USDA Introduces New Food Icon

Since its introduction in 1992, the Food Guide Pyramid has been criticized for being too difficult to read and too hard to understand. The 2005 revision, MyPyramid, didn’t give much clarity. Foods were removed from the image, making it harder to teach especially to young children. In an effort to capture attention and increase public knowledge of healthy eating, the USDA retired the well-recognized Food Guide Pyramid and replaced it with MyPlate.

MyPlate is a dinner plate that consists of the following parts: Half of the circle is filled with fruits and vegetables, with another portion featuring grains, and the rest consists of proteins. To the side of this plate is a glass of milk to represent the amount of dairy products that one should be having daily. It’s crisp, clear and colorful. Families shouldn’t have trouble identifying what goes where. The main goal of the new look is to emphasize that fruits and vegetables should consist of half of the food that is consumed and portions should be smaller.

Regarding the “fine print,” the USDA will be promoting three simple rules:

Balancing Calories
• Enjoy your food, but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Make at least half your grains whole grains.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce
• Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

According to the USDA, “The new food icon will be part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources.”

For more information, visit www.choosemyplate.gov

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