All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Kids > Staying Healthy > Fabulous Food > Food Guide Pyramid Becomes a Plate
Food Guide Pyramid Becomes a Plate

Plate = New Symbol for Healthy Eating

Lee este articulo

Goodbye, pyramid. Hello, plate.

The Food Guide Pyramid was the model for healthy eating in the United States. Maybe you had to memorize its rainbow stripes in school.

But the USDA, the agency in charge of nutrition, has switched to a new symbol: a colorful plate — called MyPlate — with some of the same messages:

What's your favorite category on the Food Guide Plate?

The pyramid had six vertical stripes to represent the five food groups plus oils. The plate features four sections (vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein) plus a side order of dairy in blue.

The big message is that fruits and vegetables take up half the plate, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section.

And just like the pyramid where stripes were different widths, the plate has been divided so that the grain section is bigger than the protein section. Why? Because nutrition experts recommend you eat more vegetables than fruit and more grains than protein foods.

The divided plate also aims to discourage super-big portions, which can cause weight gain.

What's a Grain Again?

You know what fruits and vegetables are, but here's a reminder about what's included in the three other food groups: protein, grains, and dairy:

First Lady Likes the Plate

First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the plate and said she will use it with her family, which includes daughters Sasha and Malia. Mrs. Obama, who started the Let's Move campaign to help kids get healthier, said the pyramid just wasn't easy enough for parents and kids to follow. The plate is simple and useful.

The plate can be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That may make you wonder: Do I really have to eat vegetables with breakfast? The answer is no, but aim to eat a variety of food groups at each meal. And if your breakfast doesn't include a veggie, consider a vegetable at snack time. (Yes, healthy, portion-controlled snacks are still OK.)

The plate also shows how to balance your food groups. There's a reason the protein section is smaller: You don't need as much from that group. Eating more fruits and vegetables will help you eat fewer calories overall, which helps you keep a healthy weight. Eating fruits and veggies also gives you lots of vitamins and minerals.

To learn more about MyPlate, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov. [Please note: By clicking on this link, you will be leaving our site.]

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2014

Related Articles
K    Figuring Out Food Labels
K    Flash Game: Mission Nutrition
K    Go, Slow, and Whoa! A Kid's Guide to Eating Right
K    Learning About Carbohydrates
K    Nutrition & Fitness Center
K    What Kids Say About: What They Eat
K    What's the Right Weight for Me?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved