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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 www.cnpp.usda.gov.

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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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