USDA ‘My Plate’ puts mealtime configuration of food in easy to understand format

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently released “My Plate”, a graphic representation of the mealtime configuration of food, which will replace the Food pyramid used for educating common folks about balanced meal up to now.

It’s always good to see, Governments and organizations putting information in easy to understand format.

My Plate is what United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers a Balanced Diet.

The “My Plate” representation again supports the health experts view that a low-fat, plant-based diet for optimal health.

“My plate,”, shown in the picture, is a circular plate divided into four sections representing four food groups: vegetables (green sector), grains (orange), fruits (red), protein (purple). The dairy group is represented by a small blue circle next to the plate; intended to illustrate a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk, or cup of yogurt. As can be seen the plant based food items occupy about half of the plate.

Vouching for vegetarian or primarily vegetarian or absolutely vegetarian diet (the vegan); the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the largest organization of nutrition experts, states that “vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

To understand the recommendations of the “My Plate” and the ones made by ADA; one should look plant items, like vegetables and fruits, as sources of vitamins and minerals, which aid in metabolism; and carbohydrates, proteins and fats as food. Food is primarily required to run the body and help growth and wear and tear.

The plate as a guide is a huge shift. The plate encourages whole grains over refined grains, but does not discourage carbohydrate intake. Which is quite expected, as being the most readily provider of energy, carbohydrates are not only essential for normal functions of body and the day to day activities; lack of these can make a person depressed too (what is depression, simply lack of required energy).

USDA’s MyPlate appears to be a good and relevant representation of what the plate of an American or anyone who wants to live a healthy life, should look like.

Here are a few new set of guidelines that go along with “My Plate”. Have a look at these:

Balancing Calories:

o Enjoy your food, but eat less.
o Avoid over-sized portions.

Foods to Increase:

o Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
o Make at least half your grains whole grains.
o Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

o Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
o Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

In addition, the USDA plate advises all to limit high-fat products like meat and cheese.