Understanding MyPlate Guidelines

What is MyPlate?

MyPlate is a useful illustration from the USDA to help consumers choose appropriate foods and understand portion sizes in order to build a healthy diet. MyPlate was created in 2011, replacing the traditional food pyramid, and provides a more practical approach to healthy eating. By using this guide at meals, MyPlate helps busy families direct their choices and provides a simple reminder of how to portion your plate.

How Do I Use This Tool?

MyPlate should be used as a general guideline to help build a healthier plate. By looking at the image, it makes it easy to translate to your plate, aiming to include fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and calcium-rich dairy in appropriate proportions. Although it may not be necessary to include each group at every meal, the icon is the perfect reminder for choosing nutrient-dense foods first. Remember, the five groups highlighted are the main building blocks for a healthy diet, but portion sizes play an important role in a balanced meal, too!

What is a Portion?

A portion refers to the size or quantity of food recommended to consume at each meal. Portion sizes vary depending on age, gender and weight.

Bottom Line: It is important to focus on consuming a variety of foods throughout the day. Due to the fact that our bodies require a variety of vitamins and minerals, there is not one food that will provide us EVERYTHING we need, thus MyPlate is an excellent reminder to focus on balance.

Want to learn more? Read Lara’s article, Leaving the Pyramid to Ancient History or Contact Lara today.