Nutrition advice is plentiful and often confusing. But The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a tool that makes smart food choices a lot easier to make.
In 2011, it replaced its long-standing Food Pyramid with MyPlate*, an illustration of a plate that shows the latest nutrition research. Half of the plate is devoted to vegetables and fruits. The other half is reserved for grains and protein, and off to the side is a small cup for dairy.
"This is a big step in the right direction," says registered dietitian Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, a senior consultant for Kaiser Permanente Health Education. "The old diagram emphasized grains, while the new one emphasizes vegetables and fruits. That's an important shift."
Years before the launch of the MyPlate initiative, Kaiser Permanente created its own food publication: The Healthy Plate. It uses a photograph of a dinner plate, pictured at left. Healthy foods are shown in the right proportions to give nutrition guidance that can be easily understood at a glance.
"Whereas MyPlate says 'protein,' we show salmon, which is a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fats," says Bartolotto. "MyPlate says 'grains' but we show brown rice," because whole grains are a good source of fiber and B vitamins. The Healthy Plate also shows a generous serving of steamed carrots and broccoli—nutrient-rich, non-starchy vegetables with the added benefit of being low in calories."
Both plates offer great guidance in making smart food choices. So fill up your own plate with some veggies, grains, and lean protein, and dig in!
Find more great nutrition tips.
*Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites.Back to top
Take a stand for your health
Improve your health by sitting less and standing more. Hard to believe? Research reveals there may be something to it.
Save room for dessert
Treat yourself (and your sweetie) with this low-fat crisp.
Improve your snooze
Sleep disorders are a serious issue. Start here for help.
Manage your health on your mobile device
Our new mobile-optimized website lets you refill prescriptions and more from the palm of your hand.