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Family Nutrition: My Plate

If you haven’t already gotten to take a look at the new icon from the USDA, take a minute and check out http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.  Last Thursday Michelle Obama unveiled the replacement to the food guide pyramid.  The new icon is a plate divided into four subdivisions designed to visually guide you in portioning protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

The website http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ replaces the www.mypyramid.gov website and provides some simple guidelines along with the new plate icon.  On the home page you can see some guidelines on how to balance calories, suggestions on foods to increase, and suggestions on foods to decrease.  The website also allows you to look up a food in the ‘My food-a-pedia.’   You can learn more about food groups, look into weight loss, and even plan a healthy meal.

What are my thoughts on the new icon? Well since you ask, I’d have to say I like it better as compared to the food guide pyramid.  I think the visual of the plate makes things simple and easy to understand, allowing for anyone to make immediate changes on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate.  At the same time, there is little information about types of fats and how to incorporate fats.  After multiple clicks and drilling down on the website you can find more information about each food group, it just takes a little exploring.

As I’ve said before, I use the plate method in my practice.  Clients find it easy to understand and adapt to.  I think utilizing the my plate is a great first step in making a change.  If you have a chronic or new illness, are unclear about the food groups, or looking for weight loss to coincide with utilizing the new icon, I suggest working with a dietitian.  In my opinion http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ is a great first step in making changes.  As always, a general guideline as this is not appropriate for any individual diagnosed with a chronic condition.  Schedule a visit with a dietitian who can help you make a plan that suits you best.  Have you checked out the new USDA icon?  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them. 

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