Choose My Plate
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released new guidelines to help consumers evaluate their current nutritional habits and adopt healthier choices. The old, sometimes confusing Food Pyramid has been replaced with MyPlate, a simple graphic of a plate divided into basic food groups to help consumers make better eating choices based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (you can read the whole policy document here).
You can see the new graphic and explore the program at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
The main points of the new guidelines have been summarized into a few Key Consumer Messages:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Choose foods with less sodium.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
On the site's interactive tools page, you can, among other things, look up and compare nutritional information for different foods with MyFoodapedia.gov; or analyze your own eating habits with the food tracker, where you can plug in everything you've been eating lately and see how your current diet compares to the suggested guidelines. Happy and sad emoticons, along with the concrete numbers, tell you what you're already doing right and what you might want to work on. :)
Other tools on the site include information on select foods from the four food groups as well as other tips and resources on how to make eating healthier easy.
To learn more, read about the program's unveiling in this New York Times article or check out these nutrition titles from The Library:
Basic Nutrition by Lori A. Smolin and Mary B. Grosvenor
Nutrition for Dummies by Carol Ann Rinzler
The Everything Guide to Nutrition by Nicole Cormier
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