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Nutrition Messages Stay the Same

MyPlate replaces the MyPyramid nutrition recommendations icon.

Nutrition recommendations have a new look, but the main messages haven’t changed significantly, says North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist Julie Garden-Robinson.

On Thursday, first lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate, to help people make more healthful food choices.

MyPlate shows how much of your plate should be devoted to vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins. It replaces MyPyramid, which depicted the food groups as different-colored bands in a pyramid. The width of the band indicated how much of that food group you should include in your diet.

“The key messages still are the same,” Garden-Robinson says. “The plate icon is easier to understand, and we in the nutrition field hope this new icon will help guide people to put current nutrition recommendations into practice.

“As you use MyPlate, think about the size of your plate, too, so you manage your portion sizes,” she adds.

The key messages from each MyPlate food group are:

  • Grains group – Make at least half of your grains whole grains.
  • Vegetable group – Vary your veggies.
  • Fruit group – Focus on fruits.
  • Dairy group – Get your calcium-rich foods.
  • Protein foods group – Go lean with protein.

The dairy group used to be called the milk group, and protein foods group is the new name for the meat and beans group.

MyPlate’s three central messages are:

  • Balancing calories – Enjoy your foods, but eat less. Avoid oversized portions.
  • Foods to increase – Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat more whole grains. Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Foods to reduce – Compare sodium in foods such as soup, bread and frozen meals, and choose foods with lower amounts of sodium. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

“Take small steps when you decide to improve your diet, and don’t forget that regular physical activity also plays a key role in maintaining health,” Garden-Robinson advises.

For more information on nutrition, visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/eatsmart. To learn more about MyPlate, visit http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - June 3, 2011

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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