Pyramids and Plates and Healthy Plates

We all know about MyPlate, the government’s newer initiative to replace the dated and sometimes confusing healthy eating pyramid. I talked about this unveiling back in June. Now, those smarty pants at Harvard have further updated upon the plate model and tweaked it to their liking to better define things like whole grains, healthy proteins and healthy oils.

Here’s the current MyPlate picture:

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It’s very simple, focusing on four major food groups and encourages the user to check out their website for more detailed information about adequate and appropriate fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and grains.

If you remember, I liked the emphasis on half the plate full of produce and the circular visual as it actually looks like something we would eat off of, rather than that pesky pyramid that went backwards in my mind. Aren’t we trying to reach the top of the pyramid? No? That’s bad? OK…

Here is the new Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard:

Healthy Eating Plate (healthy-eating-plate-700.jpg)

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As you can tell, this graphic is much more detailed and doesn’t rely on the user to visit a government website to find out what it means to eat healthfully. Straightforward. This I like.

I like that this plate emphasizes whole grains, rather than just white bread and white rice, as well as healthy, lean proteins…none of the artery-clogging beef and pork on this plate, please. Of course I like the inclusion of beans and nuts as protein sources, too. 🙂

I also think it was a good idea to include healthy oils, because, realistically, we eat a lot of oil and it should be a part of our diet in moderation. I also like the emphasis on water and limitation of dairy.

P.S. That “stay active” guy is cool, too! I think that’s a nice addition to round out the healthy lifestyle.

Here’s my main concern: While the plate paints a pretty clear picture of the proportion of foods to eat on a regular basis, there is no definition of what makes up a proper portion. How much oil constitutes one serving? We surely eat too much oil, and too much of many other things (i.e. sugar, which didn’t make it to the plate), so I think people need better definitions of serving sizes in general. That’s the only thing I miss about that food pyramid. I think it did a better job of defining how much of each food to eat per meal and per day.

No doubt, one can seek out this information very easily, but if the Harvard smarties want this picture to be all-encompassing, they need just a couple tweaks here and there, and I’ll be sold.

What do you think? What about that mention of french fries not counting as a vegetable?
We had a fun discussion about that in class…

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