New Food Icon!

I must interrupt my promised slew of summer-themed blog posts to report some very exciting news: THE USDA HAS UNVEILED ITS NEW FOOD ICON!  No, no, no I’m not talking about the next Tony the Tiger or adorable talking doughboy.  Something MUCH more hip: a plate!
The USDA has been doing some spring cleaning and announced today it will be throwing out the myriads of different food pyramid variations we’ve all been raised on, and will replace it with a cool new icon: a dinner plate.  It  is designed to help us easily visualize what and how much we should be eating.
MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”  USDA Press Release, June 2, 2011
To help buoy up their new icon, the USDA has launched a multi-year campaign to offer Americans one nutritional guideline at a time. The idea behind this, is that we are bombarded with so many nutritional messages, it’s hard to know what to focus on.  Instead, this campaign will give us one thing at a time to focus on.  Right now, the tidbit of information is:  “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables”.
So is the new nutritional icon we’re about to be inundated with, a sound nutritional guideline?  It’s definitely a good start.  The American Institute for Cancer Research has been using a similar model for some time now. 


American Institute for Cancer Research Guideline


Canada has as well.  Only difference is they stress more veggies, which I would concur with…in my humble opinion.
Canada Guideline

Another cool thing the USDA is trying this time around: feedback.  We are all invited to take pictures of our plates and share them on Twitter:’s  your chance to show off that fancy healthy meal of kale you’ve worked so hard to prepare! 

For a fun slideshow of how our dietary guidelines have changed throughout the years, check out this websiteOur nutritional guidelines have definitely evolved.  Whether or not it’s based on politics, expert opinion, or unbiased scientific research is a topic for another blog.  But for now, let us enjoy our plates half full of fruits and veggies. Happy eating.

Next Blog: Summer event –Farmers Markets and local eating