Cafeterias and health classes across the country are still reeling from the bombshell dropped by Michelle Obama yesterday: The famed food pyramid is no more.
Originally introduced in 1992, the first food pyramid aimed to educate our youth in healthy eating habits by breaking down the food groups into a supposedly easy to understand graphic that outlined the suggested number of servings per day. What better way to prevent obesity and heart disease than a solid diet built on a foundation of 6-11 daily servings of carbs, huh?
Well, it seems that having multiple words, numbers, and perplexing punctuation such as commas was too much for us to understand. Behold the USDAs newest solution: MyPlate.
The new graphic strips away all of the reading and breaks everything down to a per-meal suggestion. Rather than force us to think about how many servings of dairy we had at breakfast while considering cheese on our burger for lunch, MyPlate gives a clear visual of what the proportions of each food group on your plate should look like.
Fruits and veggies lead the way, taking up 50% of the plate, followed by grains and protein. And I think that dairy serving is supposed to be a glass of milk, but since I don’t drink milk, I’m going with a cup of strawberry yogurt. Or, like most 3rd graders will inevitably jump to first, chocolate ice cream.
Granted, the new stripped down graphic leaves out many important factors – how much salt is on that pork chop, fat in the broccoli casserole, or if your eat your meals with a serving fork and your plate is the size of a hubcap – but you can’t expect all of that info to make the cut. Simplicity is the idea, and I can see the merit in that. Considering that 75% of men and women between the ages of 17-24 are so out of shape that they can’t qualify for military service, some dumbing down may be in order.
While I appreciate the idea behind the change, made all the more necessary by the 2005 revision of the pyramid to include a stair climbing stick-figure and the special effects from Xanadu, this could be an exercise in futility if no one actually pays attention. It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try though.
What do you think? Will MyPlate have an impact on the swelling youth of America? Or could the USDAs efforts be better spent elsewhere?
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog