What To Eat

5 Useful Graphics that Define a Healthy Plate

The USDA is replacing the food pyramid with a plate-like graphic that will soon be unveiled. Here are some healthy plate graphics already in use.

According to William Neuman's report in the New York Times, a USDA official, Robert C. Post, said the new food guide (that is replacing the food pyramid) would be a plate and that it would serve educational purposes:

The agency would use the plate to get across several basic nutritional messages, including urging consumers to eat smaller portions, switch to low-fat or fat-free milk and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

A plate with half devoted to fruits and vegetables is not exactly a new concept.

The American Diabetes Association has been using this plate as a food guide:

american diabetes association plate graphic

The American Institute for Cancer Research uses this one:

american institute for cancer research plate

Canada's food guide is translated into this plate:

canada food guide plate

And the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine has an elegantly designed 100% plant-based plate for vegetarians and vegans:

physicians committee for responsible medicine plate

And here's what CNN thinks the new USDA food icon will look like:

Can the USDA improve on the existing versions? Does CNN have it right?

I'll be in Washington tomorrow to find out. You can be there virtually at

Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle

Noted author Marion Nestle is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of What to Eat.
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What To Eat: Expert advice on food, health and nutrition issues that are in the news.
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