Pyramid to Plate: New Nutrition Guidelines
The geometry of eating right has changed. The food pyramid, which underwent a confusing makeover a few years ago, has now become a circle in the form of a plate. This version is much more user-friendly than previous versions – because it’s the shape of our serving dishes. The plate is divided into four sections of differing sizes – the smallest is devoted to proteins, such as meat, beans and tofu. The next smallest spot belongs to fruits, and grains get a nicely sized spot. Vegetables grab the biggest area of the plate, and a full half of the plate is shared by veggies and fruit. Off to the side is a smaller serving of dairy, which can take the form of low-fat milk, cheeses and yogurt. The new guidelines also include advisories about sodium, portion control and other means of healthy eating.
On ChooseMyPlate.gov, Americans are advised to enjoy food but eat less, watch portions and to make half of your grain intake whole grains. Eat more fruits and veggies and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and limit your intake of sodium and sugar, particularly sugary drinks. Good advice, because sugary soft drinks have been blamed for the obesity epidemic. Two things that the new guidelines omit, however, are exercise and the size of that plate you’re loading up. Americans are used to getting a large plate piled high with unhealthy foods and lots of them when being served at a restaurant. Filling a sensibly sized plate with the healthy options laid out in the diagram can ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need – and nothing more.