USDA Food Pyramid is Out. Meet the Food Plate.

A pyramid of oranges.

The ubiquitous Food Pyramid is going away, and a new plate-based food graphic is taking its place.

The food pyramid has been the subject of quite a bit of controversy. A group of doctors even sued the USDA and Department of Health for putting special interests before sound nutritional advice in the last Food Pyramid. There are a number of alternatives out there, including some plant-based food pyramids.

So, what does this new “plate” look like? Marion Nestle shared a peek at it yesterday:

food plate

The idea is that the plate graphic will be easier for people to understand, but do you guys feel like it represents a more balanced diet than the protein- and grain-heavy pyramid we’re used to?

A Plate Divided

So, what would a healthy plate look like? That depends on who you ask, and there are a myriad of answers, some plant-based, some including meat and dairy.

The official new graphic represents the updated Dietary Guidelines (pdf), which recommend eating fewer solid fats and sugars and replacing them with whole foods; replacing refined grains with whole grains, eating more fruits, vegetables, and seafood and fewer salts; and eating/drinking more dairy products.

Anyone suspect that some dairy industry dollars contributed to that last recommendation?

Of course, it’s easy to talk about the ideal diet and not always quite so easy to eat that way in your day to day. I thought I’d have a little fun and make a plate that reflects my own diet, and I’d love to hear what your plate looks like (or see it, if you’ve created one!):

my food plate

As you can see, my diet definitely has its flaws. It varies a lot depending on what our CSA brings us, and I tend to overdo it on sweets when I keep them in the house. I usually have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner and one later on while I’m hanging out with my friends or my husband, which is probably more than the new guidelines would like. Drawing it out like that was actually sort of eye-opening!

What about you guys? What do you think makes for a healthy plate? Is it close to what’s on your actual plate?

Image Credits:
Orange Pyramid. Creative Commons photo by dominiquegodbout
Plate graphic by Becky Striepe

5 Comments

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  1. Looks like NORMAL eating to me. I guess America has forgotten what that looks like.

    Of course with the media bombarding us with EAT EAT EAT and DIET DIET DIET, it’s no wonder our perceptions and attitudes of what to eat and how much to eat is totally wacked.

    Remember when you were a kid and ate a bowl of cereal or some eggs and toast and then you went out an played all day? ALL DAY?

    Came home starving for dinner and sat down with the family and ate some meat, salad, veg, some bread and a little desert? SOME?

    Oh yeah. That was WAY back … and perhaps only the most sane families served up this tradition.

    Lucky me. I’ve still got it.

    Food plate? Who needs that.
    America stuffs it’s face with crap anyway.
    And the rest of “foodie” America is too obsessed with counting carbs to actually enjoy a meal.

    New food plate.
    Ha ha ha.

    • I misspelled a few words (typos) – but it’s not due to poor nutrition. I just type fast. Put down that caffeine and don’t be so quick to criticize me. Thanks.

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