Gone are the days of the food pyramid, which had been our nutritional guideline resource for almost 20 years. Now, the United States Department of Agriculture has unveiled “My Plate,” aimed at being a simpler guide to healthy eating.
The new guideline is divided into four quadrants, with fruits and vegetables taking up half the space and grains and proteins making up the other half. The vegetables and grains portions are the largest of the four.
“We are not telling people what to eat, we are giving them a guide,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We’re not suggesting they should not have a cookie or dessert, that’s not what it’s about.”
He said the new chart is meant to show that nutrition does not have to be complicated.
The USDA also plans to use social media to get the word out about nutrition, which could include posting daily advice on Twitter among other things.
The first food pyramid was introduced in 1992, with detailed descriptions of recommended foods and their portion sizes. After research showed it wasn’t working, the department devised a new pyramid in 2005 that was characterized by vertical lines of color and a stick figure walking up a staircase to symbolize exercising.
Click here for more on the new program.