Say Goodbye to the USDA’s Food Pyramid

I did a recent poll at one of my workshops, and found there was only one person who knew that USDA’s Food Pyramid was no longer the government’s nutrition guide. My Pyramid, which can be seen below, had been around since 1992. There are many who are glad to see it go. “It’s going to be hard not to do better than the current pyramid, which basically conveys no useful information,” Dr. Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, told the New York Times in May, 2011. The chief complaints with My Pyramid were that it was too confusing and made no distinctions between healthy food choices such as whole grains and less healthy choices such as white breads and pastas.

The USDA’s new guidelines are represented by My Plate. Not only does it bring guidelines up to date, it provides a much simpler visual guide. The new design incorporates seven key dietary messages:

– Enjoy your food, but eat less
– Avoid oversized portions
– Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
– Drink water instead of sugary drinks
– Make at least half your grains whole grains
– Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk
– Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.

If you would like to learn more or to get access to some new recipes, visit

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  1. It’s crazy how over-sized our portions have gotten! And, I’ve also noticed our furniture has gotten bigger too! LOL Thanks for the information!

  2. WOW! Thanks for sharing the USDA’s new guideline! They are much simpler. Excellent!

  3. This is definitely a step in the right direction but I think an awful lot of people are confused as to what size a portion actually is.

  4. After I had lived for some time in Europe, where serving sizes are reasonable, my rule became that I wanted to see the pattern around the edge of the plate. So that 24-oz steak that hangs off the plate just doesn’t cut it … 😉 And the concept of “all you can eat” is totally baffling!

    • Anita on August 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Its true that we have adapted to huge portions and I can personally attest that it is taking me forever to eat less.

  5. This new guideline is much easier for people to visualize, I think. One of the most helpful visuals for us was when one of my daughters needed to see a nutritionist. To help her understand portion sizes, she told her an average portion was the size of a tennis ball or the size of her fist. That is such an easy-to-understand visual, especially for a teen.

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