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My Plate Replaces the Food Pyramid

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Michelle Obama has made her mark in the history books by officially replacing the Food Pyramid that most of us grew up on with her updated version called, “My Plate.” The new food guide is part of the government campaign, spearheaded by the first lady, to promote healthy eating.

If your kids watch Disney channel, you have no doubt seen the first lady staring in her own PSAs with the kids from Disney channel promoting this movement. So, it isn’t surprising that she has taken the step to update the ole pyramid, but how much has she really changed the recommendations?

The old pyramid, if you will recall, called for a balanced diet using the pyramid as a graph to show you how much you should eat from each category proportionally. Since each level was smaller than the last, most of us grew up believing that the majority of a day’s food should be comprised of starches (at least until Dr. Atkins came along).

The new recommendations move a balanced meal toward being, well…more balanced. With nearly equal portions of fruits, veggies, grains and proteins combined with a slightly smaller dairy now recommended the new My Plate has made a distinct move away from the starch heavy society we have become accustom to. Notice that meat has even replaced by “protein” to reflect the alternative healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Noticeably missing from the new chart? Sweets. (Interesting… I mean, I realize there is no nutritional value to sweets, but at least showing that the portion needs to be tiny seems like it would be a good idea).

I consider myself a reasonably healthy eater. (I emphasize reasonably because I am very picky, which leads me to eat much of the same things over and over, and well, I love sweets.) So, I am happy to report that my family’s meals often look very much like the My Plate recommendation — at least as often as they looked like the food pyramid recommendation. ;)

Besides the need to reprint all of the health books, I am not sure how much of an immediate effect the new guide will make on our society. I mean, even the pyramid never had a level for grease, and you can see how far that got us.

But I do believe that the new plate representation is an easier concept to teach young kids, which in the long run should produce the intended results. Since it actually looks like how your plate should be set up, it should be something even small children can understand. And perhaps if kids visually understand the portions from a young age they will grow to adopt the healthier lifestyle without realizing any differently. Since portion control is the key to both healthy eating and learning everything in moderation, I hope this bold move to change the standard will eventually result in a healthier America.

Jennifer Burg is a mother, blogger and deal hunter. She blogs about life as a mom, DIY projects, reviews, giveaways, deals and more at The Suburban Mom, an Orlando coupon blog.

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  • Reply Lisa L June 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I like the new plate representation but I think putting pictures of foods on it as well would be helpful to kids

  • Reply Darcy June 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I like the plate model. It is much more practical in my opinion. With plate sizes growing, we need to remember that veggies should take up more room on it! I used a similar plate model for managing gestational diabetes – very helpful!
    Darcy´s last blog post ..Father’s Day Gift Guide- Applebee’s Digital Gift Card 25 Giveaway – US-Can – 6-17

  • Reply Jen June 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity Candace!

  • Reply Julia June 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    It’s a step in the right direction, but I agree I am not sure how much it will change things unless the education comes along with it.
    Julia´s last blog post ..Upcoming Radio Shack Twitter Parties

  • Reply Jen - Life With Levi June 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Visiting from MomDot. I love the visual of the new plate vs the old pyramid, but I agree with your point – there still isn’t wiggle room for things like grease :) For all the advice out there about doing things in moderation, you’d think they’d include that as part of their new message.
    Jen – Life With Levi´s last blog post ..FF Follow Friday Feature- Lindsay from You Are The Roots

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