First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has unveiled the new national food icon, MyPlate. The new icon replaces the MyPyramid image as a visual cue and teaching tool for nutritious eating.
The new icon translate the main tips of the newly updated 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans into a visual icon that will help Americans build healthy diets over time.
The main tips from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are to:
- Enjoy food in the correct portion.
- Make fruits and vegetables the main focus of each meal.
- Incorporate fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and other dairy products as part of your meals.
- Select foods that are low in sodium.
- Drink water and eliminate those sugary drinks.
Here are some highlights of the new USDA MyPlate icon.
The new MyPlate icon has four different colored sections that will teach people how to build meals using fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. The smaller dairy circle suggests a glass of low-fat milk or a cup of yogurt with each meal. This visual suggests selecting whole foods as the basis for your healthy meal planning.
Make your plate half vegetables and half fruits. These sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber should be a least half your plate whether fresh, frozen, 100% juice, steamed, or grilled.
Make One fourth of the plate rich in protein. A great source of protein is lean meat. Other high biological value options include eggs or cheese. Nuts, seeds, nut butter, legumes, soy products, and some grain products are all good protein choices instead of meat.
Include fat free or low-fat (1%) dairy with your meal. Milk provides nine essential nutrients that are necessary for health. Four of nutrients (calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin A) are usually inadequate in most adult diets. The USDA dairy recommendation includes all milks including lactose-free and lactose-reduced products and fortified soy beverages, yogurt, frozen yogurts, diary desserts and cheeses because of their calcium content.
The Bottom Line is that the USDA recommends the following for good health.
1. Build your healthy plate using the new MyPlate icon as a guide.
2. Cut back the foods high in solid fats, added sugars, (also known as SoFAS) and salt.
3. Consume the right amount of calories for you.
4. Become physically active your way.
The new MyPlate icon will serve as a helpful to help all Americans balance their calories, increase healthy food choices while limiting unhealthy ones.