MyPlate is the current nutritional guideline used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet, and it is depicted by a graphic of a place setting for a meal. It replaced MyPyramid last June, ending nearly 19 years of USDA food pyramid diagrams.
The USDA first published guidelines for nutrition in 1894. Since then, the USDA has provided a variety of nutrition guides for public use, including the Basic 7 (1943-1956), the Basic Four (1956-1992), the Food Guide Pyramid (1992-2005) and MyPyramid (2005-2011). Other agencies, such as theUnited Kingdom’s Eatwell Plate, the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, and the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate, use a plate diagram as well.
MyPlate is divided into sections representing approximately 30 percent grains, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent fruits and 20 percent protein. To the side of the plate is a smaller circle representing a low-fat or fat-free dairy serving. The plate graphic also reminds us to:
- Choose variety. The best meals will have a balance of food items from each of the different food groups.
- Make half of the plate vegetables and fruits. Approximately one-fourth of your plate should be grains and one-fourth should be protein.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water, instead of soft drinks, sports drinks or other drinks.
- Avoid oversized portions.
Check out all of the new and exciting features of MyPlate by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov. You can create your personal profile; plan, analyze and track your diet and physical activity; obtain daily food plans, plus utilize many more tools designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them here.