The newly introduced ”choose my plate” nutrition guide is a better, simpler and easier to understand method to assist people in making better food choices and eating healthier food than the previous pyramid model.
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The U.S Department of Agriculture replaced its famous food pyramid with a new plate icon due to health problems related obesity. The new plate icon is a simplified style of the previous pyramid. It advises to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink fat-free or low-fat milk and to consume whole grains. The main reason to change the pyramid system was because of its complexity. Currently, on some cereal boxes the pyramid version was stripped of information, consequently, people did not understand what it represents. The new plate was introduced to get attention and help to educate consumers about the government’s latest dietary guidelines. It helps people to remember the listed food groups which contained the icon more easily.
There are several differences between the food groups in the plate and the pyramid diagram. One of the differences is the less emphasis on grains. The pyramid version focused mostly on grains, since the plate version displays only one quarter for it (moreover, suggesting whole grains) and instead emphasizes on vegetables and fruits. The other difference is in the “sweets, fats and oils” category. There are fats and oils in the pyramid, which also include sugars, but on the plate version the oils group does not appear anywhere. The last is “meat and beans” category which was replaced for other proteins like fish.
The pyramid showed food consumption in quantity values of how much each group of people was supposed to eat. This was not practical since people did not measure quantities. ”Choose my plate” suggests eating food in proportions. Fruits and vegetables take up half of the plate while grains occupy just one quarter of it. Proteins take up slightly less than a quarter and at the right hand corner is a small dairy portion. Following is an example for a day’s food plan using the food tracker. Breakfast: 1 cup of low fat (1%) chocolate milk, 2 brownies fat free, no icing, 1 dried piece of pineapple, 1 regular sliced bread, oatmeal. Lunch: 1 cup of green, canned, cooked, no fat added peas, 1 apple. Dinner: 1 cup of green lettuce, 2 thin slice of boneless, skinless, stewed chicken breast, 1 cup of tap water, 1 banana.
The new plate icon can help Americans to eat healthier; it makes it simple for everyone to understand how a nutritious meal should look like. It also emphasizes on eating more fruits and vegetables rather than oils, fats and proteins, but could further add fruit juice to cater sugars.