Now, as part of the FLOTUS (Michelle Obama’s) ongoing nutritional efforts, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, something new has been introduced that dismantles the flawed Food Pyramid once and for all. Check out MyPlate, which is a more basic graphic depicting a dinner plate split into four quadrants, with an accompanying cup or side plate.
The graphic is obviously more user friendly and intuitive (we don’t generally eat off of pyramids, but plates are common when we are not consuming our meals out of Burger King bags while attempting to drive). The Agriculture Department has also launched an accompanying website to promote the new “plate” idea, which includes tip sheets that encourage Americans to eat fish twice a week and avoid high-fat and salty foods. The new plate icon, while being an ideal graphic for those of us who detest the idea of having our foods mixed together, is also a means of simplifying the message. In essence, it is an attempt to make us more mindful and disciplined about what we are eating, not just on a daily basis, but also meal by meal.
Assuredly the MyPlate development is an improvement, but hardly a perfect solution to the longstanding problem of how to promote good and balanced nutrition. The icon alone doesn’t address things like portion size or the fact that the protein quadrant is exceedingly vague, as grains and dairy can all contain significant amounts of protein (that said, it is nice to finally see meat replaced by the more interpretive “protein”).
What is your feeling on MyPlate? Is this an improvement on the old model? Do these sorts of charts and graphs actually make an impact on national nutrition, or are they an abundant waste of money (the current MyPlate campaign required around two million in tax dollars to happen)? How could this model be greatly improved to actually reach out to the people that need this guidance the most?