Thursday, June 2, 2011

Plate replaces food pyramid - what do you think?

Discovering that Americans do not generally plan their meals with geometric shapes in mind, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a new food “pyramid” on Thursday. Obviously, it’s not a pyramid at all, but a plate and a glass (and a lonely looking fork). According to media reports, your average Joe is supposed to relate to this better.

Most notably, vegetables and fruits dominate the plate, with protein (as you can see, "meat" is not specified – leaving room for other protein-rich meat alternatives like soy, nuts or more vegetables) taking up a small portion. Actually, vegetables appear to be the largest share of the plate, with grains in second.

One problem I see is that the plate does not get too specific on portions. How much dairy is that glass supposed to represent? The bird’s eye view gives you no indication of volume.

Luckily, the actual Ag website behind the graphic is filled with good information.  They have links to recipes and diets specific to your condition – pregnant, trying to lose weight, etc. There’s a food search engine where you can find out how many calories are in a specific item, and plan how to fit it into your diet.

What do you think? Is this helpful to you? Will you use this graphic and the accompanying website to better plan your meals? 
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