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National Nutrition Month – replacing the food pyramid with a plate

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Friday, March 9, 2012

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” Did you know USDA’s MyPlate replaced the food pyramid in 2011? The idea is to make nutrition and portion size easier to understand and to commit to.

MyPlate has four colored sections representing fruits, vegetables, grains and protein. A smaller circle next to the plate represent dairy. MyPlate is simple and visually shows what to put on your plate and in what proportions.

The food pyramid was first released in 1992. When it was revised in 1995, the pyramid included 6 food groups and showed a person walking up steps on the side of the pyramid to demonstrate the importance for exercise.

The pyramid messages were somewhat difficult to understand and were not being used by many Americans. As obesity rates continued to soar, it became clear the information the pyramid tried to convey was missing the mark. The new MyPlate campaign makes it easier for consumers to know what to put on their plate and the portion size recommendations.

A key recommendation is to eat smaller portions; the plate is in quarters and encourages at least half of your plate to include fruits and vegetables. The remaining half is divided between grains and protein. Dairy has a space to the side. Go to for more on MyPlate and great health information.

When you consider YOUR Plate, ask yourself how do your meals stack up? What do you do to get your plate in shape? Set a goal for yourself to evaluate what is on your plate at least once a day compared to MyPlate and identify where you might need to make changes.

Happy Nutrition Month!

Tags: nutritionmyplate

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