Hello MyPlate…Goodbye MyPyramid!

How Do You Fill Your Plate?

The government’s Agriculture Department launched a new icon June 2, 2011 to represent healthful eating – a plate.  Linked to First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity, the plate is divided into 4 parts representing the proportion of food groups to eat for good health.  Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter protein-rich foods and a quarter grain-based foods.  A circle marked “dairy” is nearby.  Not a new concept, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Diabetes Association have used similar “plate-messages” for years to encourage a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet. 

Better than MyPyramid, which was not identifiable as food-related without professional guidance or tapping into a website, the new MyPlate icon immediately says food.  The best thing about it is its simple message.  The one thing I miss is appetite appeal.  I don’t hear the sizzle or smell the aromas or see the gorgeous colors of fresh, well-prepared food.  People don’t take health messages to the plate unless they’re inspired by food that looks and tastes good and that they can afford.  Plus they need quality, easy-to-make recipes to turn healthful foods into delicious meals.  

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Here’s my version of eating the MyPlate way – a recent Sunday dinner at my house: Wild king salmon with a relish of arugula,tomatoes, black olives, lemon juice and shallot, a salad of baby greens and grilled rosemary-parmesan polenta, made with whole grain cornmeal, of course.  The only thing missing is the dairy – I had a glass of wine.  A big dairy fan, I usually get my quota at other meals and snacks throughout the day. 

To add healthy excitement to your salads and vegetables try this recipe for homemade, whole grain croutons. 

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto


 Preheat oven to 350°.  Warm 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1 clove of crushed garlic in small saucepan over low heat for a few seconds (or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds), till hot and fragrant.  Remove from heat and discard garlic.  Place oil in large bowl and add 3 cups cubed whole-grain bread* and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat bread with oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until toasted.  Store airtight.

*For croutons I prefer a rustic loaf without added sweeteners such as Trader Joe’s sliced whole wheat ciabatta. 

Folllow this link  ChooseMyPlate   to see the new icon and get more information on putting it to use, such as making lean choices, including whole grains and cutting back on sodium and sugary drinks.   

Got kids?  Go here for to fill your family’s plates with summertime food fun from foodplay.com.

Copyright © Lorelle Del Matto 2011

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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