What’s On Your Plate?

Perhaps you have heard about the new Food Guide Plate. It’s a bit simpler than the Food Guide Pyramid which very few of us followed.   I have mixed feelings about this new concept.  Do most Americans come close to eating this way three times a day?  My goal, although I don’t follow it perfectly, is to eat what God has made, with all the variety, without additives and preservatives, and then work on the proportions in the new food plate. I’d be curious to know your thoughts. Here’s what Dr. Chaney has to say:

It’s out with the old (the Food Guide Pyramid) and in with the new (the Food Guide Plate).

The new visual consists of a dinner plate and an 8 ounce glass of milk. Vegetables and fruits occupy half of the dinner plate, with grains and protein occupying the other half. And if you look a bit more closely, the vegetable portion is slightly bigger than the fruit portion and the grain portion is slightly bigger than the protein portion.

That is certainly simpler. No more counting servings or trying to figure out how big a serving is.

There is one big problem, however.

Less than 50% of what we ate in 2003 were sit down meals at home – the kind that you might eat off of a plate.

The unfortunate truth is that more of the foods that we eat at home are eaten out of a bag or box rather than from a plate.

And when we eat away from home, we often eat on the run – a muffin here, a bag of chips there, a fast food meal somewhere else.

And when we do eat in a restaurant we have no control over how the various foods are portioned out on the plate. A stir fry may sound like a healthy dish – but not if two thirds of the dish is taken up by white rice.

In other words the Food Guide Plate is a simple concept, but it captures only a small part of what we actually eat on a daily basis.

My fear is that the Food Guide Plate will be of even less use for actually changing the eating behavior of the general American public than was the food guide pyramid.

However, not all is lost! If you are serious about improving your diet the new USDA web site (www.ChooseMyPlate.gov) is a great resource.

If you are willing to take the time to go through the site you will learn a lot about making healthy food choices and you can create a personalized diet just for you.

I recommend that you use the Food Guide Plate as a visual to help you eat healthy portions of the various food groups when you are eating at home and use
www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to create an overall healthy diet.

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney

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