Thursday, September 22, 2011

Food Plates

The USDA came out with its MyPlate to replace the food pyramid, arguing that the latter was confusing. While I agree that most people will find the new presentation easier, I noticed right away that the USDA recommends dairy as part of every meal – I can’t help but think that’s because it represents the dairy lobby as well as other groups. It also lacks explanations, and even those on the website are dumbed down and incomplete.

Recently, Harvard came out with its own version of the plate, which I much prefer. It has more explanations and precisions, like “whole grains” and “healthy protein” instead of the broad terms used by the USDA. It also includes healthy oils and water. But it left out eggs, for example, and there is still the issue of portion control.

I don’t think either of these plates will revolutionize the way we eat, though. I have a sweet tooth and I love baking, so baked goods often take the place of fruit for dessert (though I do eat fruit at breakfast, and sometimes bake fruity desserts; plus, I bake with whole grains almost exclusively). I also rarely have three dishes on my plate at any given meal; it’s usually more like a main course and a side, and I try to vary the whole grains and vegetables throughout the day. Also, I’m currently a domestic engineer, and I still don’t get all this stuff on my plate at every meal. You want to tell me parents with full-time jobs are going to be making all of this? That being said, I do like Harvard’s plate much more than the USDA’s.

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