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MyPlate VS MyPyramid

What is MyPlate?

This new attractive and colorful icon introduced by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) represents MyPlate – an easy to comprehend food guide that is a step up of the former MyPyramid released in 2005. Michelle Obama who unveiled the icon in June 2011 stated that the prime goal behind the launch of this new symbol is to prop up the significance of healthy living among the Americans as well as to put an end to conditions such as childhood obesity. A publication of the USDA in conjunction with the HSS (US Department of Health and Human Services) – the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 is the basis for the development of MyPlate.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 that is based on the topical scientific evidences, the poor diet and inadequate physical activities are the root causes of morbidity and mortality in country. Even though it has been promoted as an effective means to encourage Americans to stick on a balanced and healthy diet by reducing the consumption of fats, MyPlate is beyond a nutrition guide providing portion size and also offers effective tips for your overall health and well being – an example for which is the ‘Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series’ that could be checked out at

What are the changes?

The purpose of the changes was to make things easier to follow.

MyPyramid, as the name suggests, had a pyramid shaped icon consisting of seven vertical lines designed in a hue of six colors however with varying thickness to represent the quantity of foods that should be consumed from each group including grains, vegetables, fruits, oil, milk and meat. It also included the image of a person climbing the steps to emphasize the significance of daily exercise programs. Despite being attractive, MyPyramid failed to convey the real message at first glance. This point, in fact, makes MyPlate different from MyPyramid.

MyPlate is simple in terms of its pictorial representation and comes with a plate-shaped icon consisting of four different colored sections, of which:

red stands for fruits

green for vegetables

purple for lean protein

orange for whole grains

Along with this is a separate round section colored in blue to signify the daily consumption of dairy.  

Among these sections, the biggest is green that calls for the importance of the increased intake of vegetables.

Even if the new icon has left out certain key ingredients such as exercise from the list, it is still important, and a workout plan of at least 30 minutes is recommended per day for kids. Likewise, nutrients like oils are allowed in moderate quantity, although they are not found mentioned in the new icon. The new icon further puts across certain key messages by way of:

  • Enjoy your food while eating less
  • Fill half your kids’ plate with grains and proteins
  • Fill half your kids’ plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Keep away from oversized portions
  • Replace sugary drinks with plain water
  • Intake low fat or fat free dairy products
  • Compare sodium to stick on lower sodium foods

If you prefer to watch a video on the changes...

Classification of Foods

The major food classifications under MyPlate include:

Vegetables: It comprises all kinds of dark green, starchy and red and orange vegetables in every form, from raw and cooked to frozen and canned. Some of them are:

  • SaladBroccoli
  • Dark green lettuce
  • Cassava
  • Green bananas
  • Plantains
  • Water chestnuts
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplants
  • Beans and peas

Fruits: All types of fruits and 100% fruit juices packed with nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folic acid are included in this category, such as:

  • StrawberriesApples
  • Berries like strawberries and blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Prunes

PotatoesGrains: This group consists of foods made from whole grains containing bran, endosperm and germ. Topping the list of whole grain items are:

  • Brown rice
  • Cracked wheat
  • Whole cornmeal
  • Whole wheat
  • Oatmeal

ChickenProteins: Made up of meat, poultry and seafood items - this group is considered inevitable to improve your health. Among the food items grouped under proteins are:

DiaryDairy: Aside from fluid milk, this group also covers foods made from milk. Here is a list of items included in dairy items.

  • Fat free or low fat milk
  • Flavored milk
  • Milk desserts
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt

Can you customize the MyPlate Recommendations?

MyPlate is simply a tool that helps you to devise a healthy meal plan. It could be easily tailored depending upon your kids’ health requirements. A professional medical practitioner or a registered nutrition can best help you with this regard. The USDA’s website also offers several interactive tools to customize your plate.

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